Mike Wexler: Dispossession Review

To deprive an individual of a possession or occupancy of an abode.

That’s the literal definition of the oddly monikered Dispossession, Mike Wexler’s second full length album and debut record for his new label Mexican Summer.

But the strange thing is this title couldn’t be more at odds with Wexler’s fluid musical style.

In spite of its misleading name, and further literary alienation encouraged by tracks such as Pariah, Dispossession feels more like a warm embrace from the rising sun on a crisp spring morn than anything else.

The aforementioned Pariah carries echoes of french electronic duo Air’s Cherry Blossom Girl, with Wexler’s oft sparse musical arrangements complemented by the honeyed and soothing tones of a female singer.

Scratch that, it’s actually Wexler singing himself; contorting his voice to sound like a slightly less raspy version of Mariella Frostrup.

Which is meant as a compliment, even if this doesn’t come across as such.

Next up is an infectious drum loop, and no doubt Nick Drake influenced Spectrum.

In fact, with his soothing melodies, delicate voice and languid nature of his music, Wexler could easily pass as the love child of Drake.

Providing some jazz floozy from the past gave birth to this self taught guitarist out of Brooklyn mind, as the array of instruments incorporated on Dispossession and improvised instrumentals can’t fail to impress.

This jazz sensibility wears its heart on its sleeve never more than on Lens, building up to an instrumental fanfare of swirling horns and distortion that warms the soul and soothes the mind as it washes over you like the gentle waves of the ocean lapping at your feet.

In fact, that’s how this whole record feels to me.

Wexler’s stripped down approach to making music evokes memories of the past, but never in a faux or negative way. He simply doesn’t feel the need to over burden his offbeat music with the staid rigidity of the verse, chorus, verse, chorus formula.

Dispossession feels just the way it should, and it takes confidence in yourself to let this natural and organic quality shine through.

Sometimes the bravest thing you can do as a performer is to allow stillness to permeate your craft, and Wexler’s conviction in his own sound gives him the courage to not over elaborate on his lingering fingerstyle guitar passages.

Dispossession is the sound of a musician eerily comfortable in his own sonic skin, like an old soul in a young man’s body.

Perhaps that’s what the title of this record means, and all Mike Wexler really wants is for someone to arrange an exorcism for him?

But it sure won’t be me.

Jonathan Campbell

One Response to “Mike Wexler: Dispossession Review”
  1. avatar Winston Krahn says:

    Appreciate you sharing, great article post.

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Dates ‘n stuff

March 2012