Danalogue and Alabaster DePlume have spent the past few years on separate jazz voyages, but now come together on their debut album I Was Not Sleeping – their sound veers between dark dystopia and psychedelic utopia – and is out now. Check Broken Tooth Skyline, featuring guest vocals from Benin City and spoken word artist, Joshua Idehen. It’s discordance, menacing rumblings and lyrical content are so appropriate for uncertain times.
The duo met at London’s Total Refreshment Centre, discovering a mutual love of Japanese anime film and leading company Studio Ghibli – in particular, director Hayao Miyazaki and his films Castle In The Sky and Porco Rosso – the game Hot Dice, as well as fictional intellectuals, the Laputans, from Gulliver’s Travels. With thematic ideas aplenty, Danalogue and DePlume started to jam.
“There were several aims that grew out of the project,” says Danalogue. “We wanted to reject authority, leadership and hierarchy by fighting back through sound. We wanted to improvise as deeply and honestly as possible, create unlikely futures, go on a journey with each tune and play outside of our comfort zones.”
“It’s about accountability” explains DePlume. “If one day in the future someone asks me about this time now, I will have to say, ‘I was not sleeping while this happened. I witness what is happening around me now, I recognise I am involved in it, I am part of it, I cannot deny it, and I am prepared to do something to make it better, and to change myself in order to do so’.”
Joshua explains: “When I first heard [Broken Tooth Skyline], for some reason I imagined it as the sound of London. The dirty, cynical side. Honed in a bit on that feeling and I thought ‘well what’s filthier in London beyond the Thames?’ So I imagined the track as London, speaking with the Thames as it’s tongue. Hence ‘Thames River Flow’.”
Danalogue’s profile as a producer is also rising fast due to the recent success of his work at the helm of Mercury nominated The Comet Is Coming, both of the critically acclaimed Snapped Ankles album, as well as recent records by Soccer96, Bo Ningen, Flamingods, Lunch Money Life and Vels Trio. Spoken-word artist, writer and saxophonist DePlume has earned considerable and deserved acclaim for his recent album To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals, Vol. 1. – Bon Iver recently sampling opening track Visit Croatia for their single PDLIF.