Oxford’s Hugo Manuel A.K.A. Chad Valley is not a go-to artist for us. Which is an odd way to start talking about him, we know. We absolutely love pretty much everything he’s released, we happily fork out the cash for lovely Chad Valley vinyl (we’ve even pre-ordered the new album) and spent hours and hours chilling with his début full album, still a killer after a couple of years. But whenever we’re sat around thinking ‘what to listen to?’ we never go straight got Chad Valley. Which is a shame as whenever Chad Valley pops into our head (and subsequently our speakers) we’re always like “oh shit! fuck yeah! Chad Valley!” Too much music, too little time we guess.
Chad Valley is the shining light of the label that other labels wish they were, Cascine. Since releasing his first EP back in 2010, at the height of the birth of Chillwave, he has steadily offered up a plethora of sunkissed and deeply emotional synth music that draws on everything from Shoegazing Indie to Funk fuelled R&B to weave his densely layered musical tapestry. Haunting and enigmatic at the same times as irresistibly groovy, all the time Hugo’s soft, heartfelt vocals never letting us forget that he wears his heart on his sleeve. His first full length record, 2012’s Young Hunger was a well rounded slice of intricately crafted left-field Pop that really showed off how much Chad Valley’s sound had matured.
This emotionality and sonic maturity is set to continue on his recently announce sophomore record. To be titled Entirely New Blue, the new album is due out in October and sees Joel Ford, of Ford & Lopatin, alongside Yung Ejecta on co-production duties. Largely produced during the break-up of a long-term relationship, we’re likely to see Hugo’s passionate lament taken to the next level. In-fact, Hugo himself calls the album’s second single, Seventeen, “the most deeply personal song I have even written”.
Seventeen takes it’s time to get started, spending over a minute purely on a gentle piano and Hugo’s sincere and regretful croon. Just when you think the tension will never break, Seventeen splits to reveal a shuffling beat and warm, swelling keys. The track build a musical and vocal mantra, undulating sounds tumbling around each other as Hugo’s effect laden voice swings from an narratively emotional centrepiece to another instrument in the tracks swirling finale. We were quite excited about Entirely New Blue when it was announced last month, Seventeen has assured us that our excitement is justified. Hugo truly is a master at his craft, we can’t think of anyone who serves up this kind of hazy, sentimental synth music as well as he does. Just sink into this one, put it in your headphones and lie back. Stay in that warm place until Entirely New Blue drops next month.
Hopefully we can remember lo listen to Chad Valley from now on.
♫ Chad Valley – Seventeen
Chad Valley’s Entirely New Blue is released 2nd October.
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