Cabaret Voltaire

Cultural events: mostly music, but sometimes poetry and other things

ALABASTER DEPLUME

Friday 3 May 2024

St Petroc's Sessions, Bodmin

'Angus Fairbairn, the Manchester-born, London-based musician who records under the name Alabaster Deplume, makes music that is extremely hard to classify. His albums feature some of Britain’s top jazz musicians, but it isn't straight-up jazz. It’s an odd mix of jazz, creaky chamber music, clunky post-punk, lo-fi Afrobeat, avant-garde folk music and English whimsy.' - The Guardian. Alabaster DePlume, has a pocketful of phrases that he uses all the time whether he’s walking down the street or holding court with musicians and an audience. For a long time the Mancunian would tell anyone who’d listen that they were doing very well. More recently, it’s another phrase which has a similar effect and which belies his unwavering commitment to personal vulnerability and collective politics: “Don’t forget you’re precious.” A process that is people-first not product-first ensures that the music is unique; often gem-like. Alabaster DePlume’s songs are built on sonorous circular melodies and luminous tones that transmit calmness and generosity in warm waves–unless they’re raging against complacency and the everyday inhumanity of end times capitalism. Most importantly, he brings a valuable transparency to his work. “This is what I’m really doing,” he says. “I want to talk about why I’m doing this, and how I’m doing this."

Information

Starts 8:00 P.M.
General admission £18.00

Booking fee applies

'Angus Fairbairn, the Manchester-born, London-based musician who records under the name Alabaster Deplume, makes music that is extremely hard to classify. His albums feature some of Britain’s top jazz musicians, but it isn't straight-up jazz. It’s an odd mix of jazz, creaky chamber music, clunky post-punk, lo-fi Afrobeat, avant-garde folk music and English whimsy.' - The Guardian. Alabaster DePlume, has a pocketful of phrases that he uses all the time whether he’s walking down the street or holding court with musicians and an audience. For a long time the Mancunian would tell anyone who’d listen that they were doing very well. More recently, it’s another phrase which has a similar effect and which belies his unwavering commitment to personal vulnerability and collective politics: “Don’t forget you’re precious.” A process that is people-first not product-first ensures that the music is unique; often gem-like. Alabaster DePlume’s songs are built on sonorous circular melodies and luminous tones that transmit calmness and generosity in warm waves–unless they’re raging against complacency and the everyday inhumanity of end times capitalism. Most importantly, he brings a valuable transparency to his work. “This is what I’m really doing,” he says. “I want to talk about why I’m doing this, and how I’m doing this."

‘A rabble-rousing, spiritual jazz adventure’– ★★★★

The Guardian

The self-taught saxophonist plays his tenor sax out of the side of his mouth in a breathy murmur, all simple phrases and fluttering, low-volume flourishes. He sings in mantras, occasionally lapsing into quite funny Robert Wyatt-ish spoken-word excursions. He also surrounds himself with fine musicians who push his simple songs into more challenging territory.


His double album Gold (2022) was recorded at London’s Total Refreshment Centre (TRC) over two weeks. He invited a different set of musicians each day, playing the tunes to click so that DePlume, who also produced it, could cut the 17 hours of sessions together like a collage. As with all his sessions, he ensured that the musicians didn’t have enough time to rehearse the tunes, instead requiring them to tune into each other and to rely on each other to reach the end of a song. There was another rule: no listening back to sessions after recording.


“The method is part of the mission. It wasn’t like school. We had mayhem. We were having fun. That is the story and the process – and I want to live that way.”