There are many genres out there who have a propensity for mediocrity. It’s not that the genre is bad. On the contrary, much of it is enjoyable. The issue is that not much goes beyond enjoyable, never quite scratching beneath the surface of the initial infatuation. Trip hop is one of those genres. Its essential qualities have their own, intrinsic allure: something about the rhythm schemes of hip hop merged with a chiller atmosphere just has its appeal. However, most of it has become routine, never doing anything interesting with the basic trip hop formula. Not Hugo Kant though who, reminding us of artists like Floex or even Devin Townsend‘s Casualties of Cool in certain ways, blends guest vocalists, clever samples, a variety of instruments, and just an overall sense of cool into his trip hop. Get below for your first taste.
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I chose “Black Moon” for his most recent release, Out of Time, because it captures all of the above elements really well. With its prominent accordion, flute, and clarinet, “Black Moon” shows the power of trip hop combined with wide ranging influences. It keeps the music going well beyond the basic beat, establishing the track as something interesting, to be explored. Add in the great vocal samples and you have an enchanting sojourn through fragrant nights, a track that manages to both relax you and subtly grab your attention.
The album as a whole does all this and more. The best thing about Out of Time perhaps is how it eschews a pattern. The track after “Black Moon”, “Low Gravity”, is much darker and more abstract, preferring a more haunting vocal line and overall approach. Other moments of sheer, pop-y joy are strewn throughout the album, turning it into a wild ride, as weird as that sound for an ultimately very relaxed album. This album begs for repeated listens which lift away its layers; I urge you to give it what it wants.