Dugo - Lingua Franca
Electro Well, it will be interesting trying to tag the genres for Japanese artist Takahiro Izutani aka Dugo on the BR platform. His new album is called Lingua Franca and the level of fusion going on in this LP is truly staggering. Let’s call it electronic Latin jazz fusion with some UK garage and experimental programming? Sure, why not.

Izutani has played classical guitar in analog bands and solo since the early 90s. That probably explains why this album, released as Dugo, sounds like someone forced the Gipsy Kings to make an electronic record at gunpoint. The electronic fusion project of Dugo has been around for a while now and earned some accolades, like his single “Dublin” being featured in CSI: Miami, and Izutani’s work on the video game Metal Gear: Solid, but the Tokyo-based artist considers Lingua Franca to be his magnum opus. He cites breakbeat and electronica as the base styles for the lion’s share of tracks, and his list of influences, as is to be expected, is extensive and ranges from Radiohead to Jazzanova.

Indeed, the opening track on Lingua Franca has a breakbeat base, but it is definitely on the jazzy end of the spectrum. DJ Shadow’s Mushroom Jazz comes to mind. Other tracks on the album, however, are more eccentrically composed. The first single off the album, “Higher Ground”, is a good example. In this case, the electronic beat base is actually UK garage, but it sounds like it starts off played by a real jazz drummer with whisks. This would be incredibly tough for a drummer because of the speed of a garage beat, but once the electronic snare matches it, the whole track goes even more quirky. The guitar on this track is simple, but the synths and bass samples are what make this track such a modern fusion. The synths waffle between a sort of standard jazz keyboard and a more rave-inspired timbre. There is also a rave-inspired digital guitar track layered over the acoustic guitar. By the end of the track, so much has happened that all the listener can do is marvel at the composition and the precision in the performance of “Higher Ground”.



Overall – and this is just one reviewer’s opinion, mind you – many of the tracks might have been more appealing if Dugo stuck to one or two styles. While the sheer expertise in composition and execution is impressive, a lot of the ambient electronic music gets caught up and sort of shredded by the fiery fusion jazz. “Sol Poinete”, for example, changes from an excitable guitar track to a more ambient electronic breakbeat about halfway through, and it’s sort of nice; a break from the chaos. Albeit this is highly sophisticated, expertly produced and performed controlled fusion-style chaos, but there’s only so much the listening brain can take.


Lingua Franca’s closing track, “Ruin”, is another example of a nice, musical break from the chaos. The simple, hip hop beat along with dissonant piano chords, simple guitar and an errant digital trumpet makes this track highly listenable as well as technically masterful. For those who like both a challenging experimental track and a more melodic electronic fusion, this album will scratch those dual itches quite nicely.

Technically, Lingua Franca is indeed a masterpiece, and it seems Dugo went through an incredible emotional journey to produce it. It has already sold out in physical copies, and experimental and fusion aficionados are lauding the album as a triumph. Not one to normally shy away from experimental anything as far as music goes, this reviewer will concede that the perceived busy-ness is largely a matter of taste, so the album definitely gets high marks either way you slice it. Whether you enjoy the actual music or just appreciate the production, Lingua Franca cannot be faulted in either category. 

4
Brutal Resonance

Dugo - Lingua Franca

8.5
"Great"
Spotify
Released 2017 by Bravewave
Well, it will be interesting trying to tag the genres for Japanese artist Takahiro Izutani aka Dugo on the BR platform. His new album is called Lingua Franca and the level of fusion going on in this LP is truly staggering. Let’s call it electronic Latin jazz fusion with some UK garage and experimental programming? Sure, why not.

Izutani has played classical guitar in analog bands and solo since the early 90s. That probably explains why this album, released as Dugo, sounds like someone forced the Gipsy Kings to make an electronic record at gunpoint. The electronic fusion project of Dugo has been around for a while now and earned some accolades, like his single “Dublin” being featured in CSI: Miami, and Izutani’s work on the video game Metal Gear: Solid, but the Tokyo-based artist considers Lingua Franca to be his magnum opus. He cites breakbeat and electronica as the base styles for the lion’s share of tracks, and his list of influences, as is to be expected, is extensive and ranges from Radiohead to Jazzanova.

Indeed, the opening track on Lingua Franca has a breakbeat base, but it is definitely on the jazzy end of the spectrum. DJ Shadow’s Mushroom Jazz comes to mind. Other tracks on the album, however, are more eccentrically composed. The first single off the album, “Higher Ground”, is a good example. In this case, the electronic beat base is actually UK garage, but it sounds like it starts off played by a real jazz drummer with whisks. This would be incredibly tough for a drummer because of the speed of a garage beat, but once the electronic snare matches it, the whole track goes even more quirky. The guitar on this track is simple, but the synths and bass samples are what make this track such a modern fusion. The synths waffle between a sort of standard jazz keyboard and a more rave-inspired timbre. There is also a rave-inspired digital guitar track layered over the acoustic guitar. By the end of the track, so much has happened that all the listener can do is marvel at the composition and the precision in the performance of “Higher Ground”.



Overall – and this is just one reviewer’s opinion, mind you – many of the tracks might have been more appealing if Dugo stuck to one or two styles. While the sheer expertise in composition and execution is impressive, a lot of the ambient electronic music gets caught up and sort of shredded by the fiery fusion jazz. “Sol Poinete”, for example, changes from an excitable guitar track to a more ambient electronic breakbeat about halfway through, and it’s sort of nice; a break from the chaos. Albeit this is highly sophisticated, expertly produced and performed controlled fusion-style chaos, but there’s only so much the listening brain can take.


Lingua Franca’s closing track, “Ruin”, is another example of a nice, musical break from the chaos. The simple, hip hop beat along with dissonant piano chords, simple guitar and an errant digital trumpet makes this track highly listenable as well as technically masterful. For those who like both a challenging experimental track and a more melodic electronic fusion, this album will scratch those dual itches quite nicely.

Technically, Lingua Franca is indeed a masterpiece, and it seems Dugo went through an incredible emotional journey to produce it. It has already sold out in physical copies, and experimental and fusion aficionados are lauding the album as a triumph. Not one to normally shy away from experimental anything as far as music goes, this reviewer will concede that the perceived busy-ness is largely a matter of taste, so the album definitely gets high marks either way you slice it. Whether you enjoy the actual music or just appreciate the production, Lingua Franca cannot be faulted in either category. 

Apr 01 2017

Layla Marino

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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