Dugo – “Higher Ground”


Takahiro Izutani touts an impressive career that’s likely familiar to a number of fans in TV, music, and video games alike. For starters, he was the co-composer of one of my favorite recent video games in Metal Gear Solid 4, always a series with impressive audio content. As the frontman of the project Dugo, his music has appeared in numerous TV shows, with “Dublin” showing up in ‘CSI: Miami’. Still, it’s his stellar work on video games that really caught my attention, and it’s a source of experience he utilizes throughout his recent album, Lingua Franca. “I think many of the people who purchased this album are video game music fans, and you can indeed find some affinity between my work for Dugo and my compositions for video games,” Izutani explains. “I was always taking experimental approaches during the process of making Dugo’s songs, and then sophisticating, developing, and introducing them into video game work. Actually, you can explore the headstream of all of the video game music that I have ever made through this album.”

Dugo was crafted alongside a variety of artists, including guitarists violinists, and photographers. It has aimed for (and achieved) Izutani’s concept of a grand solo release, one defined by a lively and eclectic approach, as shown on album track “Higher Ground”. This 7+-minute epic showcases numerous styles, from the rhythm section’s brisk reminiscence of jazz/funk to the acoustic trickles around 03:50 crafting a serene feel. The final two minutes is particularly impressive, infusing ’80s-like guitar fervency into a brisk rhythmic assortment with glistening keys at a steady hand. It’s a thoroughly impressive track from a very worthwhile album, streaming in full below:

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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