ALBUM REVIEW: QRTR, infina ad nausea
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Brooklyn-based QRTR’s sophomore record infina ad nausea is a record made to be played in full at a DJ night in an artsy basement. Right from the jump, it kicks off with tasteful IDM with the help of fellow producer and experimentalist ambientkitty. The track feels almost like a sonic lullaby of sorts, with back masked, warped instrumentation and continuously evolving ambience in the background. As Doom of Doom records puts it, the track “slips between complex melody layers that bubble around one another and deep swelling experimental build-ups that pull from Pink Floyd-esque synth lines and William Basinski influenced soundscapes.” While that track might provide a good opening to this aforementioned DJ set, “With You” featuring artemis orion is a more direct and exciting follow up, with repetitive, hypnotic vocals and basslines that remind me of something out of a Shygirl record. “Want Me 2” continues the accessibility but plays with the sonics slightly, as if it’s being remixed in real time. Tracks like this recall both house and early FKA twigs.
Ok, now “Fractals” would be the point in the set where everyone is going absolutely mad off their respective drugs. Maybe there’s a bright strobe light too, just a sea of bodies bobbing their heads in unison to the hard bass grooves the track provides. “Like That” would soundtrack a similar scene, but has this juke-like step to it. The drums are interestingly programmed and QRTR singing “I like that, like that” goes in lockstep with them. By now, it’s worth noting that I don’t love every single thing about this record. Although each song has meaning and revels in the ambience, field recording and repeated phrases, tracks like “Nossa - Interlude” or “Running From It” don’t really do it for me. I like the balance between dance grooves and classical music, but when it goes too far in the soft direction, I get lost a bit. I far prefer tracks like “Blame Me” and especially “Ritual”. “Ritual” sounds like some classic Aphex Twin, the drum ‘n’ bass sound is really strong and prominent and works well for this album. I appreciate QRTR’s genre range, but sometimes I’m just not a fan of her particular take on the genre. The record ends with two songs that tastefully mix ambient soundscapes with crashing dance music, giving the overall experience a cool down that it needs. This is a solid record that juggles a lot of different sounds well, and for an independent album, the production quality is really incredible. If you are an introvert who likes club music but hates being around people, this is the record for you. A nice stay at home rave experience for ya.