Album Flashback: Quinn Fox - "Fitz Warine II" (2005)

I don't own many albums, period. I tend to only buy stuff where a major majority of the album is enjoyable, i.e. I don't purchase blind. So there don't end up being many albums, or even EPs, where I can sit down and listen to the whole thing.

I'll admit, I was lukewarm on Fitz Warine II...at first. It wasn't a mediocre EP by any means. Indeed, something about the tracks made me keep listening long after I had downloaded them. Fully appreciating the album took me about a month, but it was well worth it. Before we get into the album, onto some background...

In my time at OC ReMix, Quinn Fox has been one of those modest guys who doesn't like being overly praised. I once asked him (through GrayLightning) repeatedly over the course of half a year to submit a great Sega Rally mix he did, "Snow Tires", and he said that if I ever asked again, there was no way he'd submit it. /shrugs

But he also recoils after being criticized. Much of the reason for criticism stems from his usage of out-of-the-box preset drumloops, a practice that Protricity's constant decrying in the formative years of the judges panel ultimately made taboo around OC ReMix. (Though I'd definitely argue that for the community, it was a development for the better. Parts of the necessary "evils" of being on the judges panel. :-D)

Quinn Fox's predominantly original album Fitz Warine II turned out to be 29 minutes and 32 seconds of really excellent material, full of driving beats, 'verby soundscapes, and great hooks. Sure, many, of the drum patterns are essentially or verbatim preset loops. But one thing that Quinn does right that hardly anyone else does (so far, only Red Tailed Fox has been comparably decent at it), is actually integrating those presets properly within the context of a complete piece of music.

If I didn't know any better, I could just as easily believe that Quinn wrote all of the drums. While it's not rocket science, to me such successful integration of presets is indeed a matter of skill and experience.

Once you check the album out, you'll see that there's a lot of care taken by Quinn to fashion smooth, ethereal textures to accompany the evolving grooves at the foundation of each track. For anyone familiar enough with Fox's OC ReMixes and other works, Quinn has a telltale style on account of his other sounds as well. The album is a nice cross-section of spacey pieces alongside some big beat-style material.

"Lonely Air Machine", "No Proper Time of Day" and "When and How I Feel" in particular remind me of how the video game industry is missing out on someone who knows how to create very engaging tracks, modern in their approach, but hearkening of the old school in terms of catchiness and memorability. Somewhere out there, a simple but modern-looking space shooter game is crying for a Quinn Fox soundtrack. Meanwhile, his Ristar "H2O" arrangement will keep the VGM-hungry among you satiated for at least 3 minutes and 32 seconds.

Some of the louder tracks were mixed a little too hot for my tastes, and some of the textures could have been fuller for the quieter pieces, but everything turns out a winner overall, especially on the writing side. For the clock-conscious music listener, it's not a huge time investment, so you should be willing to download this free album and see how it suits you. At a mere $0, the price is right. Have at it, and be sure to let Quinn know if you enjoy the album.

1 comment:

CHz said...

I've been in love with When and How I Feel since you played it on VGF episode #76. Quinn Fox is always a good guy to go to when you just want to sit back and chill.