The Best Album You’ve Never Heard (Hudson Lee – Reflex Angle)


I was recommended a new artist for this week’s entry. After listening through last week’s album, Nascent, I was recommended an artist of a similar vein, Hudson Lee. Lee’s music is a lot more rhythmic but still keeps the complexity I loved with Nascent. I decided to thus check out his 2021 album, Reflex Angle.

To jump right into things, this album is VERY good. The whole project has a very mystical and almost sci-fi vibe to it, with a focus on Hudson’s rhythmic songwriting style. Take the first song, Axon, this song, despite its long length, does a remarkable job at introducing the listener to the style of this album. The synthesizer work is phenomenal here, with so many layers to it putting the listener in a trance. The only critique, of course, is its length. While longer songs can be done incredibly well, it feels as if this one takes a little bit to step into the action. When it does, however, the rest of the listening experience is incredible.

Moving right along, we have Blank Walls, the next song. This song is, in a word, very wacky. It sounds all over the place at first and eventually moves into a similar vibe to Axon, with slower drums but impactful sounds all around. Unlike Axon, this song jumps into the action right away.

The Long Return is a slower interlude track made with bell sounds and chopped up samples of other songs followed by a beautifully written solo. It is on the shorter side but it feels like a crucial part of the album. The melodies are very catchy, but with the rest of the album so far, it feels like it is just dragging on. This song is meant to bridge a gap between the first two songs and the next one though, so perhaps that was intended.

Next we have one of the highest points on the project, a collaboration with another artist, False Noise, titled “Soul Arcs.” This song is a combination of the old school hip hop style mixed with Hudson’s modern sound design and False Noise’s songwriting. It feels like a more fun listen in the album and I definitely see myself coming back to this one.

And then we reach “Chasm,” which is in the running for my favorite of the album. Chasm is a much heavier tune than the rest, with a more dramatic orchestral lead-in to a very distorted section right after. I really enjoy this kind of music so it is no surprise that this song is my favorite.

“Skin” is the next song and it is another high point. Skin is similar to the lo-fi hip hop sound, a more acoustic-driven song with beautiful pianos and drums. Skin is a more relaxing break from the heaviness of Chasm and Soul Arcs, and its spot on the album is perfect.

The next track in the album is the other song in the running for my personal favorite. The song is a collaboration with last week’s artist, Alexander Panos, titled “Staring Up.” This song is more triumphant in nature than the rest, showcasing Panos’ beautiful harmonies and the best of Hudson’s production. In a word, it is a beautiful listening experience. This song and songs like Chasm really show Hudson’s versatility as a creator.

Reanimate is the next song. Similar to The Long Return, this song features a choppy bell melody this time paired with a very groovy beat to it. This song uses a lot of what has been referred to as ‘neuro’ sounds. These sounds are low bass noises with intense movement to them. The mystical vibe of the album kicks into full force here, as the whole song feels that it is out of this world.

In a similar vein to Chasm, “Nothing to Fear” is another heavier tune. This song is a lot more complex and a lot faster than Chasm.  It may show the worry about fear but also the triumph over it.

So far, all of these songs have had an electronic element to them, but “Anti alignment”, the next track, is a fully acoustic production. Featuring Hudson’s own guitar playing and live drums, the song, similar to Skin, serves as a nice break from the bass-focused songs prior to it.

And finally, we get to the title track: “Reflex Angle” by Hudson Lee and Frequent. Reflex Angle as a song is a much more sinister approach to the last few songs, almost as if whatever story the album tried to tell went wrong. The songwriting on this song particularly is incredible, with very glitchy segments courtesy of Frequent, and Hudson’s usual synthesizer work.

In terms of a title track, however, it kind of lacks. The song is a great listen but the title track is usually a huge statement in an album and it feels like songs like Soul Arcs and Staring Up carried over the message better. But maybe it is intended for the energy to die down as the album ends.

And after what feels like forever, we reach the last song, “Embrace.” Embrace is a melancholic ending, showing Hudson Lee’s take on a simple piano melody. The song features a lot of glitchy noises and choppy vocal takes and ends in a final triumphant synth chord, Hudson’s forte.

If I had to describe this album in one word, it would be “immersive.” Despite the length the project does feel that it pulls the listener into Hudson’s own world. I would rate it at an 8.5/10, worse than last week’s entry but still a very good project. Again, the main flaw is the sometimes boring nature of it. Despite pulling the listener in, the album seems to eventually let the listener fall out of the experience as well. To end it off, I feel the need to talk about the artwork for this album. The art is a beautiful painted piece with fantasy elements, and it ties into Hudson’s vision perfectly. See you next week’s entry!