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Class of 2014: Renee Dion and Jon Rogers

Class of 2014: Renee Dion and Jon Rogers

Kevin J. Elliott

We’ve already expounded the virtues of one Jon Rogers, aka Maggz, in the pages of (614). But we only briefly mentioned Moonlight, his then-unreleased album in collaboration with local diva Renee Dion. Dion has spent years in Chicago and New York establishing herself as a neo-soul chanteuse in the vein of Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, before she eventually found herself on hiatus, back in Columbus, and in the arms of domestic bliss. When a chance encounter connected Rogers and Dion, the singer was in the process of reinventing herself as an artist and found the perfect foil in Rogers’ polyglot of kraut-indebted synths and midnight rhythms. As a producer who works with colors more than he does musical notes and structures, Moonlight showcases the hues of the cosmos – deep space, dying stars, black holes and motley comets, all coalesced around Dion’s illuminating tenor. To add to that analogy, the planets align in the downtown down-tempo sci-fi of “Plus, Minus,” or the ultra-chill and jazzy atmospherics of “Circles.” These are songs that go beyond the neo-soul constraints and propel the duo into a realm of trip-hop and digital soul.

While Rogers has suggested that Moonlight is a one-off collaboration, the success of the album and a few unexpected live showings might convince the duo to do it again and take it even farther into the abstract. Should that happen, might we suggest they re-emerge, with saxophonist Edie Bayard (who appears on the album’s “Talk Less”) in the mix, as Lodestar?

Members: Renee Dion, Jon Rogers

Noise of Choice: Digital soul and organic beats

Web: www.moon-light.bandcamp.com/album/moonlight

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