Sax G tells stories with elegant soul.
On a warm fake-summer day in March, Gregoire Sexton Brown resists the urge to go outside and instead strolls the Seattle Art Museum, touring the Indigenous Beauty exhibit for the first time. Standing at 6’4”, sporting a blue coat and large-brim hat with baby dreads poking out from underneath it, Brown—the producer, rapper and songwriter known as Sax G—is immersed in Native artifacts, many of which date back to the 18th century. He takes in works of the past while talking about the future of his music.
Next month Brown will release Lullaby of the Forbidden Dancer, a new EP on Hush Hush Records, the downtempo-electronic label headed by KEXP’s Alex Ruder. Despite Brown’s track record as a producer for hard-hitting hip-hop artists like Nacho Picasso and the Cloud Nice family as well as invitation to collaborate with acclaimed Atlanta producer 9th Wonder, his connection to Hush Hush isn’t a stretch. He spent his childhood as an army brat in Strasberg, Germany, immersed in avant-garde pop by the likes of Kraftwerk and Duran Duran. “My ears were immediately attracted to the ambient textures that are a trademark of the label,” Brown says of Hush Hush. “It reminds me of the European vibe I grew up with.”
With spacey loops and stripped-down, ambient production, Lullaby is the type of minimalist post-blacktronica that will appeal to both Afrofuturists and downtempo fans. Furthering its intrigue, the music comes with a backstory. “Lullaby of the Forbidden Dancer is the title of a series of short stories I’ve been writing for a while now,” Brown says. “It’s about the elegant death of a dream.”
Brown knows about dreams deferred. Once an all-state basketball player at Beacon Hill’s Cleveland High School, a lingering knee injury ended his aspirations in 2006, after a year of ball at Bellevue College. He then took to music, rapping in his brother’s barbershop, where a customer, long-time Seattle selector DJ Topspin, gave him his start.
He’s grown a lot since, as a musician and as a single father to a three-year-old son. He’ll follow Forbidden Dancer this fall with his debut LP, which Brown says connects his electronic tendencies with his hip-hop roots: “I definitely will have some poems to recite this year.”