This past Friday saw the release of I Was Not Sleeping, a new collaborative record between Danalogue and Alabaster dePlume, two London-based experimental musicians.
Danalogue is best known for being part of The Comet is Coming, but has other outlets through Soccer96 and as a producer for other acts floating in a similar sphere. dePlume has lent his sax to records by the likes of Flamingods and even been sampled on Bon Iver’s recent “PDLIF”, but is usually found working on his own solo voyages into the cosmic jazz recesses, most recently with the beautiful To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1.
Coming together on I Was Not Sleeping, the two challenged themselves to work in a different way to how they usually would, with Danalogue explaining:
“The approach is more as producers than in a live band setting. We pieced it together by stitching a patchwork of material, and kept building and subtracting little by little, a bit like making a sculpture. There are also more samples and loops than what we’d both usually do, and more drum machines.”
Of course, we wanted to know which records helped them to get into this mindset, or provoked them to delve even further into the wormhole. Obligingly, the pair have each picked three records – fascinatingly diverse, and very innovative. Enjoy their picks below, but first take a listen to I Was Not Sleeping highlight “Broken Tooth Skyline” featuring Joshua Idehen.
Monopoly Child Star Searchers – Bamboo For Two
[Olde English Spelling Bee; 2010]
When Alabaster and I were first hanging out, long nights lost in discussion over some beers, Monopoly Child Star Searchers was the continuous soundtrack.
I love how it decorates the space in a psychotropic haze, that immediately changes the atmosphere, and the jams housed within the forest of synths and samples seem endless, almost relentless, until there’s suddenly a switching into a similar but different landscape, a new part of the same dream.
This is also a very dirty sounding record, no bass, no treble! We didn’t go for that sound, but it’s always inspiring to hear artists who produce records in completely their own way. We tracked all the drum machines and synths through guitar amps, and were encouraged to do that by records like this.
Samiyam – Animals Have Feelings
[Stones Throw; 2016]
Don’t listen to this record if you have any neck muscle issues, it’s a real head snapper. Samiyam can drop a beat like no one else, the kind of beat that comes in and people involuntarily go ‘oooooh’ and start nodding deeply. I have always found this fascinating, like a sort of magic trick combining misdirection and a huge reveal.
Part of our record is the sound of two very different artists/people collaborating and finding out about new music, I showed this album to Alabaster fairly early on and I am confident in saying it blew his mind.
Harmonia – Musik Von Harmonia
[Brain Records; 1974]
I am choosing this particular Kosmiche record, but it could so easily be Neu! or Klaus Shulze or Ashra – I had to pick one! The German pioneers of what can only be described as ‘music from the cosmos’, combining hypnotic beats with cascading synthesis, sometimes ambient, sometimes upbeat but always dreamy and a form of sonic teleportation.
Records like this are heavily linked to a social-political movement in Germany at the time, which is encoded implicitly within the music. Its rebellious use of repetition and abandoning of traditional musical forms, to find a freedom from conformity, expressed instrumentally rather than explicitly in words.
Alabaster dePlume’s picks:
Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band – Mirror Man
The tunes on I Was Not Sleeping are precise arrangements of pieces cut from extensive sessions of our genuine childish enjoyment of grooves. Making basslines on an MS10 for the extended head-ringing sessions in Margate reminded me of the purity of Beefheart’s Mirror Man, and the movement it brings to your body and spirit.
Paddy Steer – Arkipelagon
Of his many LPs, this is perhaps the one most devoted to Paddy Steer’s bangers. His is also a childish joy, with authentic fury mixed in. His also is a groove that bounces, with his political frustrations present for those who wanting to know. He has influenced me generally, and specifically for this record of course.
Lunch Money Life – Immersion Chamber
[Scenic Route; 2020]
Experiencing the raw unregulated furious devotion to skill and art of Danalogue working on producing the Lunch Money Life record, this is probably what made me want to join in, more than anything else. He was mixing Lunch Money Life’s album in the Total Refreshment Centre, Stoke Newington. I also had a studio there. I would finish working late at night, and find him smashing away at the digital coal face of this thing. Relentless. Everyone else had gone home to bed. We were less (more?) wise – we would drink beer and make more tunes instead. But the way he was working definitely made me want to do something.
Danalogue and Alabaster dePlume’s team up album I Was Not Sleeping is out now via Total Refreshment Centre you can stream it online or order it from Bandcamp.