Artwork by Günseli Sepici
Mr. Hong, a 24-year-old San Francisco beat producer, has a real talent for taking all sensory input and turning it into music. Take, for example, his recipe for “hibiki high ball,” one of the tracks off his latest effort, Vacation. The salt and sand of Maui are tuned to the sound of tickling keys that skip in time with breezy synths. It’s easy-going but vibe-y, and the briny beaches is just as evident as the smoky horns that string it all together at the bridge.
As a little R&R can do, Vacation is Mr. Hong at ease, compared to the somberness burned on “Midnight”, the project he released this past February. Importance of place is evident — the wit of New York, tranquility of Maui — and Mr. Hong is intent on transporting you to these moments, in his state of mind, through a delicate wiring of melody and rhythm.