Alabaster DePlume

Alabaster DePlume: “Naked Like Water” (feat. Donna Thompson)

Depending on who you talk to, friends of composers, performers, and producers often present them as “prolific”. Which makes sense. No one wants to admit to sedentary songwriting, right? But when you come across someone with a truly bountiful output, more often than not, they’re not bragging; they’re just dedicated craftspeople who love to create. People like Manchester-born multi-instrumentalist Guy Fairbairn. For the past eleven years he’s been blasting out albums under the handle Alabaster DePlume. Sound-wise this experimental jazz project features Fairbairn on tenor sax, guitar, synth, and vocals and lyrically serves as Fairbairn’s artistic avenue for publishing poetry. When combined, Alabaster DePlume’s discography tenders a sprawling saga of unconventional sounds across six studio albums, plus a remix record and a collection of instrumentals. So with no no depletion of drive in sight for this Londoner, Alabaster DePlume unsurprisingly has yet another new LP coming out soon. That dozen-song endeavor Come With Fierce Grace drops September 8th, and based on the name alone we’re expecting an upper echelon of experimental jazz-folk. This morning, ahead of a maiden month-long U.S. tour, DePlume deployed Come With Fierce Grace‘s final lead single, oen that’s amplified by touring drummer Donna Thompson‘s towering pipes. On “Naked Like Water”, Thompson takes on the role of Lady of the Lake, whose vocals extend Saxcalibur to King Alabaster from a misty, aural Avalon. Rippling with liquid minimalism and leaving little to hide, “Naked Like Water” really lets the reverb and sense of space do a lot of the heavy lifting. In doing so these cleansing waves bare all and drip with ambient avant-garde vulnerability.

Alabaster DePlume: “Now (Stars Are Lit)”

The term ‘avant-garde’ tends to get thrown around egregiously in the world of music, especially by up-and-coming acts who have yet to realize that their sound falls within more recognizable genres. So when an artist authentically encapsulates ‘avant-garde’ in a way that’s not just ‘weird for the sake of weird’, it can be pretty refreshing. To that point, saxophonist-poet Alabaster DePlume (the nom de plume of London’s Gus Fairbairn) continues to challenge the conventions of contemporary music in a way that’s astonishingly accessible.

Going back to his 2012 debut Copernicus – The Good Book of No, Alabaster DePlume’s carved out a sound that complements his own complex perspectives and used songwriting as nourishment to help himself (and others) get over whatever life throws at them. That tradition of healing and reckoning continues on the nineteen-piece epic GOLD – Go Forward in the Courage of Your Love, ADP’s upcoming seventh full-length that drops this Friday. Mapped out well before a single note was recorded, GOLD offers an experience that flows together thanks to Fairbairn’s poetic, omnipresent narration. Six of the nineteen tracks are already out, and are joined today by GOLD‘s final single, “Now (Stars Are Lit)”, a haunting instrumental that eerily illuminates vocals, sax, strings, and light percussion for one of DePlume’s most mesmerizing compositions to date.