Given that Exu has a sometimes fearsome reputation, Victor Hugo’s invocation of the Orixá is remarkable for its economy and subtlety. Even though the music contains expected elements such as drumming, ritual incantations and bursts of electronic noise, there is little bombast or gratuitous “exoticism”. Rather, this music is an efficient, functional mechanism to open portals to other planets. Terrifying not because of any melodrama; but because it might just be working.
Victor Hugo understands that the drumming is a “carrier wave”. Not a sequence of staccato pulses. Or even a matrix. But a rich, roiling undulation that can be modulated with strange and surprising messages. Frequency modulated, pitch-bent and bitcrushed, flanged and filter-swept. The music is overloaded with a superposition of symbols : a pretty xylophone, a detuning ancient guitar, dented bells, bursts of radio-compressed voice from the bush of ghosts. You can’t quite determine what this alien language means, but you know that, through it, someone is speaking to you.