Danalogue x Alabaster dePlume: I Was Not Sleeping (Total Refreshment)

Genre melding Comet Is Coming member teams up with jazz virtuoso for eclectic collaborative set

Released Nov 20th, 2020 via Total Refreshment Centre / By Al Judkins
Danalogue x Alabaster dePlume: I Was Not Sleeping (Total Refreshment) Amongst the meagre handful of solid positives about the independent music scene in 2020, (ie people being blessed with more time to listen and find new artists, and the bloody legendary deeds of Bandcamp), the rise of the collaborations has helped thicken the stew of blossoming creativity in recent months. Danalogue, who if you like, could be considered the fresher present-and-future upgrade on the Wakemans and the Emersons of the past makes up one third of The Comet Is Coming and one half of Soccer 96. The latter of whom have already this year released an EP Tactics - featuring the other individual in question – the intriguingly monikered Alabaster dePlume. Otherwise known for solo material in which his compositions are fronted by his poetic and saxophonic flow, this moves a few rows back for his dual producing skills to come to the forefront on this cinematic effort.

The first single Gull Communion has a unique broken swagger to it, and there’s a consistent instrument, or should it be “voice” that makes it feel like the teacher in Charlie Brown has landed a guest vocal. It could be a warped sample of seagulls, hence the title, or a heavily treated sax. We’ll never know. Either way, it works brilliantly over a firm, low riding bass wobble and dips out halfway in to welcome some tasty Eastern tuned percussion. The pair also team up with spoken word powerhouse Joshua Idehen on Broken Tooth Skyline. He has made a big indent with his ribcage rattling lyrical technique and has featured on some of the early Comet releases, although this wins as the most hard-hitting of the musical alignments between these stars, and it’s thanks in no small part to the throbbing punch of the rhythm fuelling the absolute fire of this track. There are moments when the music borders on early Bibio compositions, such as the sunshine-soaked womp of You’re Doing Very Well – which is a well known, almost catchphrase of dePlume’s. If he had a series, this could well be the theme tune. Danalogue also makes an entertaining vocal contribution in That’s Not Your Furniture, where against the run of lyrical play he makes reference to Shiva – this reminisces slightly on a primitive Soccer 96 track Dance Of Shiva. Perhaps a nod to earlier days.

This is a clichéd statement perhaps - but every track is indeed a different journey, and the duo excel in spearheading the approach of sonic diversity within a comprehensive body of work that befits a scene, an outlook, a mood. There are big boppers like the opener The March That Is Unstoppable, the stunning pentatonic trippery of Sundance and the retrospective sunset hues of Guest which could be the first time Danalogue has been heard playing piano… in his recordings at least. Nothing seems out of place but they’re making a well-rewarded point of not doing the same thing twice.

The artwork is a tremendous cover by fellow artist within the Total Refreshment circle, Raimund Wong. It is a piece that perfectly encapsulates the cohesion of nature, geometry, the human condition and the necessity to immerse with its surroundings. This record celebrates everything about the kindred understanding and chemistry all these artists share. Had it not been for this year and the you-know-what to manifest itself, one likes to think this baby would have been birthed regardless, and the ideas were brewed in circulation for a good while. 4/5