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A native of Charlotte, N.C., Benji Hughescreated one of the year's most beautifully unpredictable albums, blending jazz with circus dirges, R&B, space rock, folk and electronica. The two dozen tracks on A Love Extreme provide a lush and breathless mix with extreme mood swings, from boundless joy to utter despair. A Love Extreme (a play on John Coltrane's classic A Love Supreme) would be an impressive album coming from any veteran artist. Beck, clearly a role model for Hughes, comes to mind. The fact that this is the product of Hughes' first time in the studio makes it that much more remarkable.

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