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