L.A. mainstay Dexter Story steps up with his album ‘Seasons’ - a collection of songs written by Dexter and co-produced by Carlos Nino, with guests from Los Angeles’ close-knit jazz and soul community, including Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Dwight Trible, i_Ced, Gaby Hernandez, and many more. Progressing from their fi rst two records together as the Life Force Trio, 2005’s ‘Dwight Trible and The Life Force Trio’ on Ninja Tune and 2006’s ‘Living Room’ on Plug Research, the constellation on-conscious themes are s ll there, but the sound is very different. Leaving behind the beat soundscapes from producers such as Georgia Anne Muldrow, Ras G, Madlib and Sa-Ra, for ‘Seasons’ the Dexter Story looked to artists like Bill Withers, Steely Dan, Donovan, and Earth Wind and Fire, for a record that’s just as cosmically-minded, but wrapped in the folky, blue-eyed soul that Carlos regularly plays on his weekly Spaceways radio show. The seeds of ‘Seasons’ started out when Dexter began writing a song every day throughout 2010. By the end of the year, Carlos had whiled them down to just fifteen songs, which Dexter then went to work on producing and arranging, selecting musicians and vocalists to bring the original compositions to the studio. “Those songs were created on a guitar or a wurlitzer,” Dexter explains. “They came from really simple ideas. Some mes I would bring Carlos a track that was overproduced and he’d say “Deck, what did you start this song with?” and then he’d strip it back to just bass, wurly, and guitar.”Carlos and Dexters uncanny connected on and approach to produce on has meant that the record doesnt have much superfi cial embellishment. The message that Dexter had in mind when writing these songs was one of optimism and empowerment, to create a classic record that would reward repeat listens, and grow with the listener, that could be enjoyed through several decades. Carlos has made it his mission to ensure all the musical parts facilitated that message, and the result is an album steeped in powerful melodies and chord changes, stacked harmonies and deep feeling. Album opener ‘Underway (Love Is)’ has echoes of Bobby Caldwell and ‘Sun Goddess’ era Ramsey Lewis, as steel pan and kalimbas combine with soaring strings and synths over a shuffl ing wood block groove to set the tone for the posive vibes to come. Elsewhere, Dexter picks guest vocalists from across the spectrum of L.A.’s rich tapestry of groups, dipping into Build An Ark and Horace Tapsco’s Arkestra and linking with Gaby Hernandez, Waberi, Jime a Rose Smith, Nichelle Monroe, i_Ced, and Erik Rico. Resonant tenor Dwight Trible steps to the mic for ‘God Son’, a track that Dexter wrote for the son of his friend and steel pan player Alan Lightner. The album is also interspersed with plenty of instrumentals. On ‘Blood Drip’, Dexter nods to his love of hip hop and Carlos’ abstract ambience in projects like AmmonContact and Hu Vibra onal, while ‘Suijin’ evokes the changes and harmonies of classic Stevie Wonder. Even the infl uence of The Cavern’s favorite sons get a nod on the penul mate track ‘Spring’, with its alternate rising and falling progressions. Thats at the heart of ‘Seasons’, the rise and fall of the annual journey, the themes of death, rebirth and renewal. Some songs recall the warming, fi ery crescendo to summer, while others hint at the cooling down to winter. ‘Seasons’ is about life and the planetary cycle, and in that sense it’s an album everyone can relate to.
(added: 2012-11-28 10:10:05 )