LOUQUE with ALISTAIR at the B-Side (129 Peter), Saturday (May 17). $10. 416-760-3332. www.louquemusic.com Rating: NNNNN
Brooklyn-via-Louisiana song writer Dustan Louque opens discussions about his new So Long disc by invoking the cosmic."I've always had visions," Louque (pronounced Luke) proclaims from New York. "I'm not a particularly spiritual person, but certain things come to me."
Oddly, there's nothing particularly otherworldly about Louque's music. So Long is an understated mix of soul, pop and rootsy rhythms that was recorded over the course of three years. Louque does claim a serious fondness for Lee "Scratch" Perry, the dub wizard who speaks in tongues and once buried his master tapes under a tree to get a true roots sound, so maybe the vision thing makes sense after all.
In keeping with typical music-biz cynicism, it would be tempting to write off Louque as a New Age flake if he didn't sound so bloody sincere and genuine.
"I always spent a lot of quiet time on my own, reading, thinking and just locking things inside. A lot can happen over three years, and this is really a time capsule of that."
Despite being recorded in New York, So Long was deeply influenced by the Louisiana where Louque grew up. The disc moves at a languid, sun-baked pace, whether riding a fat organ riff or absorbing the blunted stagger of dub without losing its oddly hooky pop core.
"I grew up with a lot of New Orleans R&B and that old soul music," he explains. "I also loved electronic music and the way hiphop was recorded, but I played instruments, so for a while it was a matter of finding a way to get into that from a live angle."
The discovery of dub was a creative key. Through studying Jamaican music, he ended up finding a lot of the roots of New Orleans music.
"I rebelled against all the stuff I grew up with. Working on this record was a way of getting a perspective on my culture from afar and also soaking up all the stuff happening here in New York: hiphop, drum 'n' bass, electronic music, whatever I could get my hands on. Moving to New York just blew all those different sounds wide open for me."
It's that casual blending of styles that's most intriguing. So Long sounds like a dozen other records and nothing else, all at the same time.
"This record encompasses the feelings I get listening to Kind Of Blue, U2, Bob Marley and Lee Perry, and the great thing about now is that you can do that. The world is getting smaller and you can be influenced by everything."