Album Review

Q-Burns Abstract Message – “Feng Shui” – [Astralwerks]

karma   1/11/2023   12-inch, A Library

1998 downtempo house double album by Q-BAM, aka Michael Donaldson, a DJ from Orlando. This was his first release. The BPMs are low, and the album seems to bridge the gap between ambient house and indie pop (especially “Jennifer,” which features vocals from Icelandic pop collective GusGus. That song could have been on The Royal Tenenbaums). There are also influences of rap (He’s a Skull), soul (Kinda Picky), and world music (New Patterns).

It’s interesting placing this album in the context of Donaldson’s career 25 years later. Through the late 90s and early aughts, Q-BAM was a sought after DJ and traveled the world. After the Great Recession, he seemed to shift towards music production and his record label. During the pandemic, he pursued writing, and currently writes for his digital zine. These days, he is involved with producing podcasts and serves as a consultant to aspiring musicians and producers. In interviews, he states that his philosophy is to pursue the innovative and promote artists that are pushing the medium forward. Quite similar to the ethos of KFJC.

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