Benoit Lugue’s “El Tigre” mixes genres to create avant-garde jazz


French musician, Benoit Lugue, continues his exploration of experimental forms with a new band and album called, “Cycles.” The song, “El Tigre,” exemplifies Lugue’s willingness to challenge the boundaries of musical genres.

Benoit Lugue: “Cycles,” a musical experiment

Benoit Lugue is a French-born bass player and band leader from Paris. He is also a songwriter. Lugue has performed professionally since the early years of the 21st century. According to his website, he is interested in creating music that is “an imaginary folklore.” Lugue is inspired by “contemporary music, jazz, and Latin music.”

Cycles is the name of the music group Lugue developed in 2015. The album he created with the group is named after them. In addition to making music that functions as “imaginary folklore,” Lugue also wants to invent “trance music based on the influence of other music genres.”

Benoit Lugue: Fundraising

On one of the websites containing information about Lugue and his musical activities, there is a fundraising section. This seems to be a modern way for musicians to pay for their projects. Lugue is upfront about how much all aspects of the production will cost. His information is interesting, not guilt-inducing. He then explains he’s only asking for a fraction. This kind of grassroots interaction with fans and supporters is something I expect to see more of in the future, as the music industry changes and more bands clamor for fans’ attention.

“El Tigre” by Benoit Lugue

The beginning opens in a way that could be described as tentative. Elements of different genres show up a few notes at a time. At the forefront of the soundscape is an electric guitar. The individual notes sound as if the instrument is being picked. The sound quality is bright and open. That bright and open quality is more obvious as the guitar rhythm quickens. It sounds like what plays anonymously in visual montages of people running long distances or scaling majestic mountains. In short, the sound indicates physicality.

Despite the song’s genre, “El Tigre” has a strength evidenced by the first note. The alto saxophone joins the guitar line, but then, the saxophone begins to play a variation. As soon as listeners wrap their minds around the guitar and saxophone combo, the bass and guitar are added. Electronic distortions punctuate the song at regular intervals. That same electronic machine creates background squelches during the saxophone solo. Soon, all the instruments come back in for a few measures before there is another break.

Toward the end, the instruments’ arrangements sound deconstructed, and the saxophone’s rhythm is decadently off-kilter. The guitar sounds like a vinyl record stuck on a track. By the time the song concludes, audiences have been exposed to rock, jazz saxophone, progressive rock electronics, and rock bass.

“El Tigre” sounds like an exploration of sound and ultimately, a triumph. The way the instrumentation works together and breaks down unpredictably makes the work avant garde. This is a song that celebrates the essence of music in several genres.




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