Persona La Ave and Baraka's new album begins an era of collaboration for the duo

Together at Last


Blake Shorter; provided

Dylan Dawkins, the musician behind electronic project Persona La Ave, and jazz pianist Geoffery Dean, also known as Baraka, make the music they want to listen to. "Organic tones, vintage analog synthesizers, thicker harmonic elements and chord progressions often reserved for R&B and jazz" are just some of the ways that Dean described their sound. "There just isn't enough of this music out there." Luckily, these two released their new album, IV, Aug. 7, and it's chock-full of the tones Dean described.

The journey to making music isn't anything new for Dawkins, who has been recording since he was 12 years old. This was back when he used his dad's shed as a makeshift recording studio and became familiar with an 8-track. "I fell in love with synthesizers and music that revolves around that sound at an early age and ever since then, music has been a main part of my life," Dawkins said. "I can't really live without music."

Dean has been playing the piano since he was 5 years old but didn't write his own music until he was 25. In the years since, he has made up for lost time by experimenting with his own sound. "For the last 10 years I have been working on expanding my sound into electronic music and getting a doctorate in jazz," Dean says. "I have learned a lot about electronic music from Dylan and, ever since we first made a song together, it has been a natural process."

Their musical relationship began in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the Pilot Light venue. After playing individual sets, they both thought they could learn from the other. The best way to do that, they decided, would be to make music together.

After four long years of making albums over a long distance, Dean has joined Dawkins in Charleston. The release of IV marked the end of a long distance partnership and the beginning of a whole new world of music for their collaboration. "If you treat the music with respect and patience and do the same with your collaborators, magic can happen," Dawkins said. "We come in with completely fresh slates and perspective each time." This album is like coming home for Dawkins and Dean — a chance for them to create music together for the first time in a long time. —Abrie Richison

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