As the year draws to a close, we picked our favourite Albums of 2020.
Soccer96 are ready to take us by storm again with a new EP called Tactics and a treat of a new song, ‘I Was Gonna Fight Fascism’. The drums and keyboards duo of Dan Leavers aka Danalogue and Max Hallett aka Betamax, who are also two thirds of The Comet is Coming, will release Tactics on June 26th via Moshi Moshi Records. The new EP sees them turn into a quartet with the addition of thought-provoking and incredible musician and poet Alabaster DePlume and legendary multi-instrumentalist and producer Capitol K. Tactics “is built out of the raw energy of their improvisations, combining elements of jazz, electronica and heavier genres”, explains the press release. “A delicate balance of dark and light, heavy and danceable, the expansion from duo to quartet on this EP also sees Soccer96 re-situate itself within the vast musical universe that exists across their previous recordings and other projects.”
Danalogue had this to say about the collaboration with DePlume:
“In some ways it’s very similar to how we started things with The Comet Is Coming, plugging Shabaka into a guitar amp in our studio and egging each other on to go further, dirtier, louder. This time we plugged Alabaster into the Soccer96 turbo charger, and the results are pretty spectacular.”
There’s more good news. Just before lockdown, and as a quartet, they recorded a live show at Total Refreshment Centre. Featuring new material from the EP, these recordings are set to be released as a 3-part series of live videos and Part 1, with a version of their scathing new single ‘I Was Gonna Fight Fascism’ now available to stream. Here it is.
Last month Alabaster dePlume announced a new album entitled To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1 and offered the warm and beguiling first single ‘Whisky Story Time’. As we get closer to release day, the marvellous spoken word artist, bandleader, composer, saxophonist and activist is giving us another tantalizing glimpse at what’s to come with new single ‘What’s missing’. The track comes with a poignant video directed by Daisy Dickinson, featuring words from Chilean President Salvador Allende’s last speech to the nation just before his death in the US backed coup by Augusto Pinochet in 1973. Here it is.
2020 is off to a tremendous start with the news of a new album from thought-provoking and unpredictable musician and poet Alabaster DePlume. Entitled To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1, the album features instrumental pieces recorded over the past eight years, both new compositions and older ones collected from his albums Copernicus, The Jester and Peach. For the new compositions, the London based bandleader, composer, saxophonist, activist and orator, enlisted the help of a stellar cast of London musicians including Dan ‘Danalogue’ Leavers and Sarathy Korwar.
On the origin of To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1 is DePlume´s work for Ordinary Lifestyles, a Manchester based charity that helps adults with disabilities to live independently in their own homes, where he worked with the titular Cy and Lee. DePlume helped them socialize by making music together in different situations, which he recorded in his phone and then then used as a foundation to create songs in his studio. Additionaly, DePlume also ran music sessions for Cy, Lee and their friends, and he said this about it:
“People would focus on a central point, tuning in to one another. There are things we can’t put into words, which can be expressed with sound and music. These guys have fewer words than us, some of them have none. When we put some feelings into a music expression – that’s liberation.”
Much like in his live shows, DePlume mixes and connects people up and as the press release describes, “brings together players of different skill levels and different backgrounds so they have to interact differently, placing them in unusual situations in which to record.” This, in his own words, led them to have “a very magical time playing the tunes”.
We´ll have to wait until February 28th for the album to arrive through International Anthem, but we can already delight our ears and hearts with the first single ‘Whisky Story Time’. Here it is.