“Beyond” is a listening experience built from the topical content of the title track, which was composed and produced in the early months of 2020. While the U.S., and the world at large, has been dealing with the broad fallout and effects of the coronavirus – this recent crisis only represents a single component of the challenges that we, as citizens of the planet Earth, are faced with in the years ahead.

We carefully constructed the song list of this album, and designed its presentation, based upon the mission that is expressed on the back cover of the CD:

...a collection of music produced to inspire,
to accompany constructive thought,
and to encourage positive & meaningful action.

As our world continually gets more complex and challenging,
we must reach for greater understanding. The musical expressions
we explore can raise our sights, and the lives that we lead
can reflect patterns of broader value and greater purpose.

May this music help you to go BEYOND. S.D.

Album Tracklist:

  1. “Beyond” (6:15) – featuring Steve DeDoes, vocals & piano; Keith Stevens, flugelhorn
    dedicated to Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, & the “Cosmos” legacy
    [click here for song lyrics]
  2. “(On Some) Blue Planet” (5:08) – featuring S.DeDoes, vocals & piano; Mattias DeDoes, alto saxophone
    [click here for song lyrics]
  3. “Frozen In Ice” (5:40) – featuring Emma Aboukasm, lead vocal; M.DeDoes, alto saxophone
    [click here for song lyrics]
  4. “The Earth Is Home” (2:58) – instrumental
  5. “Is There Time ?” – featuring S.DeDoes, vocals & piano; K.Stevens, trumpet
    [click here for song lyrics]
  6. “The Way It’s Supposed To Be” (2:49) – piano solo by Steve DeDoes
  7. “(The More I) Need To Know” (3:24) – featuring April Tini, lead vocal & the Future Voices of Change (childrens’ chorus)
    [click here for song lyrics]
  8. “Friend For Life” (4:02) – featuring Chris Collins, soprano saxophone
  9. “Beyond The Horizon” (4:13) – featuring C.Collins, soprano saxophone

“Helmholtz Project” Rhythm Section:

all Piano/Keyboards: Steve DeDoes
Bass: Styles Bichley – Guitar, Sitar(7): Singe
Drums/Percussion: Stinson Diddle

Subterranean Orchestra (1,7,8,9) / Subterranean String Quartet (3);
Keith Stevens also plays trombone on (3), flute on (8);
the North Coast Horns appear on (2).
produced at DeDoes Music Productions, Ann Arbor, Michigan;
project advisor & consultant: David Wolter

from – click here, or on the CD button at right, to order the complete “Beyond” compact disc
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ACCESS PAGE – for CDs, stores, streaming

The title track (#1, “Beyond”), and track #3 (“Frozen In Ice”) get their first release in this volume. The other tracks on this album have been a part of previous releases, and some have seen application across prior endeavors by Steve DeDoes.

However, this set of nine tracks is thoughtfully presented in order to provide a journey for the listener. The opening statement contained in “Beyond” implores us to “face a future that is not the one we dreamed” – and to “reach beyond the next horizon.” Besides the song itself (melody/lyrics), the rich and sophisticated orchestration and purposeful arrangement (including the directions taken with the improvisational solos) all combine to communicate a desired depth. While the emotion and feeling of the basic song here is simple – the complexities of our existential challenges, and the approaches that are required for all of us in addressing them, are not. The piece begins with a solo trumpet and builds its intensity; it evolves into an orchestral/synth-pop framework, maintains its groove for pointed jazz statements, climaxes in a dramatic recapitulation – and then “unwinds” by way of a denouement that mirrors the introduction. Through this work, we sincerely want the listener to “try to contemplate” (stanza 2 of the lyric) the true scope of our collective existence…

The next two songs (“Blue Planet“, “Frozen In Ice“) explore the dimensions of modern life even further – examining relationships in the context of realities. Steve is especially proud of how these two songs employ allegory to explore the complexities of intimate co-existence, but also topics of true importance – all with musical intrigue that first “hooks” the listener in and then takes them to a satisfying culmination. The composer is also permanently smitten with the contributions of Mattie DeDoes (distinctively creative sax solos on both cuts), and Emma Aboukasm (a captivating vocal performance on “Frozen”).

The program continues with the reassuring, catchy groove in the instrumental “The Earth Is Home.” As the simple melody floats over the rhythmic patterns, we are reminded of the true nature of our home planet – as a truly warm, inviting, and life-giving sphere. This piece of music has long been a favorite of many listeners; it was a part of a series of tracks composed to represent each body in our solar system, for a 2002 release “Galaxy Magic” from the educational publisher “Move & Learn.” In his 2018 release “A Planetary Trip – and Back To Earth,” Steve DeDoes re-published the “planets” in an album package (combined with other songs as well) where listeners could enjoy “the trip”. (click here to see/access this album)

Is There Time ?” (track 5) is an introspective song that first appeared on Steve’s album release, “Bluetopia” (along with track #2, BTW). It fits here in the “Beyond” album, as it explores poignant questions about the choices we make as individuals. The use of repetitive musical patterns (rhythmically, harmonically, & melodically) ultimately culminate into open-ended questions about life’s purposes and intentions. What, indeed, IS the true value of one’s existence ? Have you just been building monuments to yourself ? With the time left (in a lifetime, in an endeavor) – maybe you can do something more ?

The remaining four cuts on are presented to take the listener “beyond” the issues raised and considered to this point. After exploring the significant challenges we face in the present, we must engineer HOPE for the future – and we are compelled to expand our perspectives and our understanding in order to accomplish that.

The song “The Way It’s Supposed To Be” is performed here as a solo piano instrumental. Composed in 1992, this intimate song was penned by the composer to reflect the intangible feelings he had when he was holding his newborn son (yes, Mattias – the now 28-year old saxophonist you hear on tracks 2, 3). Performed here on Brookwood Studio’s Steinway grand piano, “TWISTB” truly communicates a current sense of contentment – yet also longs for a permanent extension of that contentment. Thus, it states here for the listener a sense of yearning, an understated sense of the possibility for a better tomorrow.

And what expresses hope for the future more than the brightness of childrens’ voices ? “(The More I) Need To Know” is an anthem that has been beloved by listeners since it was written and recorded to promote TerraViva! Earth information products (“The Power to Know Your World”). The timbre-laden sound of vocalist April Tini joins with a chorus of young singers to resolutely proclaim the value of knowledge, of education, and the need to raise our sights (“the more that I dream – the more I need to know“).

Two instrumental compositions (tracks 8 & 9) serve here to convey important aspects to the “Beyond” listening journey, and to culminate the experience. Both of these tracks employ the distinctive stylings of renowned saxophonist Chris Collins, heard here on soprano sax improvisations that help take these numbers to satisfying heights.

In many instances, composers construct a piece out of an abstract sense of music and emotion – then, after the piece begins to take shape, a title emerges. With “Friend For Life,” Steve had the title in mind from the start. He then composed the counterpoint of the introduction, which led him to the fundamental melody of the tune itself. From there, the arrangement transports the listener to unusual, surprising, and satisfying places – just as does a great lifelong friendship. (Note: the composer dedicates this re-release to some of his most important friendships – namely: Eric Burt, a longtime compatriot with whom miles have separated us for years; Tyrone Hicks, who has been an important part of my life for decades now, and to David Wolter, who became integral to my everyday existence ever since my longtime mentor Matt Michaels passed in 2011. To all of those people – I trust that we are indeed “friends for life,” and “beyond.”)

Finally, the piece “Beyond the Horizon” provides a fitting bookend to the opening number. The introduction has clear similarities to that of the title track, as it starts with a solo trumpet and building toward its first theme; however, this piece evolves in a different manner, eventually climaxing with a rousing, full-orchestra statement.

For listeners who take this journey, we sincerely hope that the time you spent helps you to go “Beyond” – and that you are left with some meaningful thoughts, emotions, and maybe even a few conclusions. We ALL have choices to make, and many freedoms upon which to act.

However, we also have a collective responsibility – to the planet as a whole, to each other, and ultimately to ourselves. Please consider how we can all do better, and help each other work for a better tomorrow. Thanks for listening – S.D.

from – click here, or on the CD button at right, to order the complete “Beyond” compact disc
(opens new window)

ACCESS PAGE – for CDs, stores, streaming