Far out man. The Trip sets its sights high. It’s an ambitious, strange mix of old movie dialogue, psychedelia and straight up boom. As the title suggests most of the snatches of dialogue relate to Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD to you and I). Dexter is clearly somebody who is very much in love with the hallucinogenic blotters.
It’s many years since I partook in any such activity. Had I heard this album during that period of my life I might have thought it was really cool. It all just seems a little juvenile to me now. I guess that’s more an indication of me being an old fart than anything else though. I just find it a little bit tiresome to be so involved with a drug that you’d devote such a large amount of time and energy to it.
Aside from the dialogue though there is little here, musically, that is particularly experimental. It’s obvious that Dexter is a big fan of Madlib and he has obviously learned about construction from that master of beats. That’s not to say that what is here is of poor quality or overly plagiaristic, because it’s actually of a very decent standard, more that as a concept album about tripping the music doesn’t really fulfil the artist’s brief. There is nothing particularly mind altering here. Sure, the source material from which the samples have been harvested seems more likely to be Jefferson Starship than Freddie Hubbard but the output will be familiar to all.
The music here is similar in construction to lots that has come before it. There are some lovely little nuggets of psychedlia sprinkled over most of the productions. There is no shortage of boom or bap for those of us that are that way inclined.
There are moments of beauty though. ‘With Ease’ is a gorgeous slice of kung-fu western. Tarantino would love it. The strings have a distinctly Chinese flavour but it still bears the marks of the spaghetti western.
‘Sumerdays (Drop Out)’ is gorgeously melancholy. I spent a while wracking my brain because the melody of the strings sounded so familiar. After some time I came to the conclusion that it sounded like Level 42’s ‘You’re Leaving Me Now’. I’m pretty sure it’s a not a direct sample but it’s odd just how similar the two melodies are.
Aside from those two stand out moments there is little that pricks the ears to attention. It’s all enjoyable enough and I have enjoyed the repeated listens but nothing that has opened any doors and told me to perceive music in a different way. As a whole the album put me in mind of Dirty Art Club’s ‘Heavy Starch’ but where their album is full of life and vitality Dexter’s The Trip is a far more sombre affair.
Not spectacular and very far from terrible. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Dexter to see where he goes next. He’s clearly got talent and an ear for beauty.