Sax G, ‘Tu Me Manques’ (Cloud Nice)

Seattle hip-hop music is enjoying a creative peak, and there are a few clear narratives running through it. Macklemore is the big one, a chaste, chart-topping success story. His flip side is rude dude with attitude Nacho Picasso. And then there are the spiritual seekers: Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, OC Notes, Kingdom Crumbs. Add Sax G to that list. He has abandoned traditional rap on his debut album “Tu Me Manques,” which means “I miss you” in French, and decided to explore his newfound passion for producing.

The result is intimate synthesizer funk, a continuous, smoothed-out listening experience that feels like hip-hop but features rapping only intermittently. Sax G would rather cede the vocal spotlight to local singer Choklate and sing a little himself. It works in the context of the album. All the lyrics are about love, and the music sounds like gentle touching. From his previously released mixtape material, we know he can rap, and about lots of topics. Maybe we’ll get that next time. But what we have here is a statement of style and focused emotionalism.

Andrew Matson, Special to The Seattle Times

Other new releases

Eric Clapton, “Old Sock” (Bushbranch / Surfdog)

David Bowie, “The Next Day” (Columbia)

Devendra Banhart, “Mala” (Nonesuch)