by Icrom Bigrad
Multi-instrumentalist RK Dawkins releases his first effort as an artist, Journey. The album has old school jazz and funk influences from the ‘70s with funky bass lines and syncopated guitar rhythms to anchor the groove. Utilizing guitars, wah pedals and top-notch sample libraries, Dawkins performed all the instruments on Journey. Despite the solo act, he set out to create the feel and realism of a complete band with players feeding off each other’s vibes and licks.
“The Strut” is a track that exudes a sophisticated soul, Dawkins pours his seductive and charming style of groove all over this three-minute-and forty-five second opening track. A collection of clever parts, form a whole that is meant to captivate and woo you away on a musical journey. There is ample space for the funky bassline to breath and provide the foundation for Dawkins keyboard lines and funky guitar riffs.
The mega-talented composer takes us on another full-bodied journey of soul in the smooth lane with “Smokin’,” a hot Latin tinged track with a good feeling melody that has just the right amount of sexy swagger. The combination of funky keyboard parts against the distorted guitar is lovely. This track features some solid guitar and keyboard chops in all the appropriate places. Dawkins takes his time, never rushing the moment, but always keeping the momentum moving forward with new catchy parts and fills.
“Discovery” is full of electric seduction and subtle teasing backing vocal sounds, surrounded by swirling keyboards and a relaxed groove. Not only is Dawkins a gifted composer, but he is a master in layering sounds in an organic manner, even if they are electronic in nature. The trumpet synth playing is very organic, one would swear that there is a trumpet player breathing life into the lines, but it is Dawkins at the keyboard breathing life into the parts.
The Journey goes on from here, moving with groove sensitivity, and mesmerizing melodies. “The Wake” is an unhurried melodic statement that combines a moving funky bassline, a sumptuous saxophone timbre, and a keyboard part to create a wonderful smooth feel, with crazy ease and dexterity. Dawkins’ compositional skills are in full force on this selection, with multiple sections and melodic statements that develop into an enjoyable journey riddled with spellbinding performances and musical statements.
Overall, Journey is a diamond of a project, with Dawkins’ attention and enthusiastic devotion to detail this is a testimony of an incredibly well-done project compiled by one man. This marvelous, almost surrealistic musical journey, pulls you into a musical celebration of sounds and grooves. With sprawling compositions glued together by gorgeously intricate playing and programming, the technicality of creating such a natural sounding collection of tunes is inspired. When the Journey dips, it strolls lightly, but where it grows, it is a rapturous ride of smooth.