So when I got home from overseas a few days ago, I was pleasantly surprised because I had several vinyl, cd, and digital tunes waiting for me. DJ QU’s album was one of them, I was in Japan and I saw QU’s album in the stores so I dropped it on the needle. I took the time to really check it since I had nothing but time to do whatever. Trying to save money, I hit QU up with an offer for a trade and I was blessed with the tunes. So for this first post-Japan entry; I would like to comment on the new Gymnastics album by DJ QU on Strength Music Recordings. It comes in cd or triple vinyl form and features some serious sounds. I feel I have a great understanding of QU’s musical styling, his sound is all about the subtle rhythms, and his experience as a dancer really shines through in his work. I like to focus on the subtleties of percussion in my own productions so it was only natural that I would gravitate toward his sound. But QU offers something to listen for through his mature production, it is quite clear he takes time to find unique sounds for each of his tunes.
I recently heard of QU in the early part last year, I know he has been representing for a while but he finally caught my radar when I started to investigate the neo New York/New Jersey/broader east coast house producer scene. I was like okay here are some new peeps to me, who are representing the underground in a new way. I steadily checked his productions and podcasts as I knew about the album but did not give it a nice listen until I heard it on vinyl in Asia. Then I later listened to QU mix Gymnastics up live in a soundcloud post. I was like this album is making me want to dance, which is always my main point of making tracks. I wanted people to jack. I think QU captures this feeling in his latest presentation. Gymnastics features 11 cuts and a testimony piece from QU with Jus-Ed smashing the box with a guest track that fits right into the Gymnastics concept. QU’s skillful productions are bouncy and they make you want to move as he hits all those in between notes. I had to give some dap and share my views about this album. Sounds below:
Sliding Thru – Begins the journey with some roland machines drum sounds that quickly progress into a groover with several syncopated synth lines that include a nice piano melody. Qu also drops a voice sparsely in and out of the tune.
Step Back Up – Another vocal piece that showcases more of Qu’s piano skills, the subtle drums move and move and move.
Mud The Congo – Is a track heavy on the percussion that goes back to the roots, the indigenous emotions that are present in many subconsciousness’s around the world. Congas and bongos rock as the listener zones out while you get in touch with your inner-self.
Babyluv – Moves in between the beat with the syncopated claps that sound like the beginning rhythm to a Cuban Latin jazz tune. The track then goes deeper through a chord progression, harmonized vocals, and moving 16th note hi-hats.
Get Sum – Starts with a nice syncopated bass and interesting percussion that filters up into a droning voice that begins as the tune interweaves between focusing on the voice and bassline.
First Down – Shows of QU’s harmonic skills, with a string chord progression that is enhanced by great pianos keys, which move along quite well together as these elements sweep up and down in volume articulation. Again, the drum production is moving every so steadily.
Thrilla – Is dark with a dirty baseline that helps transform this track into a surreal state through its eerie droning background sounds. The syncopated snare hits and then another snare hits even harder; and then all of sudden you are in the groove as it opens up with more percussion as QU breaks it down and brings it back again.
Juicyfruit – QU flips the script with this tune by changing the main focus of the track into a sound that you least expect. The percussion is complex, and synths are moving ever so subtlety as vocal exist and then don’t, and yet a B section appears to give added depth to the tune.
Prayer – All yes, tasty old sounds open this track and then some banging drums come in as the hi-hats accent to create a serious rhythm. More and more sounds build on top of each other as words sound, synths become louder, and the bass beats.
Jus-Ed’s Aerial – House all day right here, the base groove is deep and the strings speak in the background. Then several toms begin to appear and evolve to really drive the tune. Keys then begin as the emotions swirl and right when there couldn’t possible be more; a sax comes in… and then return back to the emotive chords.
Opened Arms – In this tune the synths sound more technoish yet deep. The background kick is broken but is then joined by an addition kick that is four on the floor. The syncopation is grooving as an additional synth beeps in the forefront while some vocals decide to appear every once and a while.
What We’ve Concluded This Far – Words about about QU’s style with a beat barely in the background.
Mixing Room – A guitar sounding instrument begins the tune that builds into some cool synth work. QU uses some unique sounds here, in which some resemble oboes or other reed instruments before he comes back in with the dark synth lines again.
So anyone who needs material to bang the box, I suggest you get up with this album. Perfect for changing moods, building sets, or just rocking at peak time. Very well crafted tunes with solid production techniques that are never boring. Cop it!