Hugo LX – Akegata
We discovered the work of Hugo LX last year and enjoyed both his Deep House material as well as the mini album ‘Ascent‘ which sees a more Downtempo style. On further reading and with the launch of the new album ‘Akegata‘, it appears that Deep House was the departure as Hugo LX has spent many years composing Hip Hop.
Some of our regular readers will see us getting increasingly more interested in Instrumental Hip Hop since the turn of the year, however this is not about to be another of those posts.
‘Akegata‘ is a concept album, with a generous 13 tracks that delves through a melting pot of musical styles as Hugo LX attempts to portray his thoughts and experiences having travelled the planet over the last 5 years. The word Akegata means sunrise in Japanese and whilst these pieces will certainly lend themselves to early morning sun, this is an album that will suit many different listening environments. Such a wealth of cultures and experiences through half a decade spent travelling was always going to bring about a rich and unique palette.
The record opens out with a brief intro, in the form of the Ambience set by ‘LX289′, followed by the solid kick drum and shuffling Techno percussion and bass of ‘Hikari’. ‘Doma’ sees the addition of vocals thanks to the soothing jazziness of Nia Andrews. This is a stand-out piece and will appeal to fans of recent works by Taylor McFerrin or Barnaby Carter. ‘Dreams and Realities’ follows with Afro-influenced claps and plucked strings as well as vocals borrowed from Fatima’s Cinnamon. ‘Hikari’ returns as a reprise, seemingly unrecognisable from its predecessor and beautiful Deep House hooks will grab your attention for all too brief a moment.
Lush Ambient pads, minimal percussion and rough broken beats in ‘November’ provides a platform for the album to move into its second phase. Vocals return in the laidback jazziness of ‘Dawn’ with Isabel Sorling lending her voice as the centrepiece. ‘Little Castle/Drips’ is likely a nod back to Hugo LX’s years as a Hip Hop producer with downtempo beats and guitar, piano and muted brass climbing over one another. This is a clever piece as it stops for a breather mid way through, with glitched up modern classical rhythm fragments changing the direction as ‘Drips’.
‘Flowers of Life’ sees hazy Ambient drones swirl atop some rhythmic African percussion and tune-ups which is followed by a similarly Ambient-steeped piece in ‘20120422′. ‘Ascent II’ nods back to the mini Ascent album from last year, at least in its title as subtle beats are added to the environmental Ambient sounds that draw this record to a close. 20120422 (Afterthoughts/Hidden Track) sees field recordings added more prominently to the mix and it would be apt if these were to be taken on Hugo’s travels, reaffirming the theme of Akegata.
This album is something that rewards repeated listens and comes with our highest recommendation.
Check it out by hitting play above or HERE