Thursday 8 August 2019

'Seeds' by Lasperanza

The brainchild of saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Rico Garofalo, 'Seeds' marks the enchanting debut project from new Dome Records signee, Lasperanza.

A recent and very poignant Facebook post on the Lasperanza page called back to a 12 year old Rico in 1984, lounging in his living room falling in love to the sounds of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘War’ and, later, detailing the amount of time spent late at night listening to music secretly under his bed covers through his headphones.  ‘Seeds’ is very much the love letter to those times and to the soul music he grew up listening to under those covers; so much so, that this album was initially envisaged as nothing more than a passion project with no real intention of it seeing an official release.  The slate began with some thirty-plus songs for consideration before being whittled down to the ten presented here and, even on paper, the variety of these classic and beloved recordings tackled are genuinely provocative - recreations of disco classics like George Benson's 'Give Me The Night' and Michael Jackson's 'Working Day and Night' sit comfortably alongside interpretations of Gwen Guthrie’s ‘It Should Have Been You’ and Keni Steven's 'Cannot Live Without Your Love', resulting in a series of luxurious, almost heavenly, soul-drenched and string-heavy numbers.

The songs are masterfully re-imagined with a fantastic array of vocalists enlisted to breathe new life into these timeless pieces: Izzy Chase, Rhiannon Penney, LaAerial Owens, Hannah White, Decosta Boyce, Colette Connor and Kayleigh O'Neill all excel in their contributions throughout, as does the brilliant Heidi Vogel (famed for her work with Sean Khan and the Cinematic Orchestra) who guests with Keni Stevens himself on the album's breathtaking closing number, 'Under The Moon and Over The Sky'.

While Rico is credited as producer and saxophonist primarily, as well as handling percussion, drums and Rhodes on other tracks as well, there is still an incredible amount of talent that round out the instrumentation with keyboards on ‘Working Day and Night’ by JD73 (The Haggis Horns, Nightmares on Wax); keyboards on ‘In The Mood’ by Matt Steele (Brand New Heavies, Jersey Street), and trumpeter Vicky Flint (The Mighty Mocambos and our very own PVIBEZ) appearing on several songs.

As a soul music label, Dome Records has a lineage as strong as any other UK label you could compare it with.  In a conversation we had with the label's founder Peter Robinson in 2009, Robinson stated that the label's intention was always to "put out quality records".  Birthed in 1992, Dome has served as home to indelible names in soul music including Incognito, Eric Roberson, Dennis Taylor and so many others, all who have put out stellar, "quality" records.  'Seeds' is an album of such exquisite brilliance that in years to come, the album - along with its creator Rico Garofalo - will be remembered as one of the most quality records that Dome ever put out into the world.  Twelve year old Rico would be very proud.

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