Synth-stacked cosmic jazz explorations from two staples of the London scene.
Dan Leavers, aka Danalogue from psychedelic jazz rock group The Comet Is Coming, met saxophonist and spoken word artist Alabaster dePlume at London’s Total Refreshment Centre, one of the central hubs of the city’s vibrant new jazz scene.
Having moved in each other’s circles for a while, this year the duo came together to record their debut album I Was Not Sleeping, circling back around to the place in which they met to release the project on Total Refreshment Records.
Seeking “utopia amidst a real-world reality of austerity, divisional politics and a UK lurching towards the right wing”, the duo move through a variety of styles and genres on the expansive record, challenging themselves to break out of their comfort zones and switch up their customary instrument choices.
To mark the occasion, we return to their studio space inside Total Refreshment Centre for a synth-stacked live rendition of a selection of the tracks from the album. “This was the first time we attempted to perform some of the tracks live, as UK lockdown has prevented us from touring this material,” the duo explain.
“We were not sure we’d be able to pull it off without the layering of chords/melodies and bass lines, but after some experimentation, and by using triggered arpeggios, we were thrilled to be able to capture the vibe of the tracks on the record, whilst also improvising within the tracks to reinterpret them.”
Danalogue corrals a Roland SH-09 mono synth hooked up to an Estradin EFFEKT-1 Flanger, itself running into a Watkins Copycat Tape Echo, as well as a Roland Juno-60 and Roland VP-330, both of which are connected to a Lexicon plate reverb.
Alabaster dePlume plays a Korg MS-10 mono synth, a Roland TR-808 drum machine, a Roland SH-101 connected to a RE-201 Space Echo and his own patented ‘You’re Doing Very Well’ Spring Reverb. The trigger outputs of the 808 were then synched to the arpeggiator clock of the Juno and the Ext clock of the SH-101.
I Was Not Sleeping is out now on Total Refreshment Records.