Review Summary: An excellent eclectic electronic release that transcend genres and comes up with music you can constantly enjoy.
If with the mention of the title of Dugo’s album you’re thinking ‘Lingua Franca’ as in the now sadly defunct academic magazine, that spawned debate during the Nineties you’re very close to what is going on here. And if you’re not, it is quite close to the definition any solid dictionary will give you for this term - a more or less universal language used among people who speak different languages. And what better universal language than music?
That is exactly what Dugo or Takahiro Izutani is trying, and frankly speaking, succeeding to do here - come up with the music that can transcend genres and come up with sounds that will not only be understood but thoroughly understood across the board. No wonder he’s been working on this album for more than 10 years. The reason he didn’t come up with it earlier is double-fold. On one hand, he kept on meticulously putting down bits and pieces for this project, but at the same time, he was spreading his music talents around - from video game series like Metal Gear and Bayonetta to working with various Japanese music stars, like Ayumi Yamasaki.
So what do we get here musically? First thing you notice is that Izutani is an obviously classically trained musician, like many names on today’s electronic scene - Max Richter, Peter Broderick, Neil Frahm… And like all the above mentioned, his musical palette is much wider than ‘simple’ layers of electronic instruments. Izutani is obviously an accomplished guitarist - some great sounding acoustic guitar sounds can be heard throughout the album. Also, like many Japanese musicians, he does not shy away from eclecticism: if it sounds good and fits in, why not? And as somebody who has worked extensively on video games soundtracks, fitting in good beats seems like an easy thing to him.
What is the most compelling thing is that Izutani’s music is plentiful of moments that keep you alert and listening, with no traces of anything resembling New Age or supermarket muzak, nor do the beats he employs at any time jars or detracts. So in essence, you get a thoroughly enjoyable album that crosses as many genres you can think of and one that you can play at any moment and feel good about it. Lingua Franca music, if you want.