Alabaster DePlume’s To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1 was our de facto audio balm in the cursed year of our lord 2020—a sonorous tapestry of strings, flutes, guitars, piano, and gentle percussion, they were largely instrumentals of songs from Gus Fairbairn (DePlume’s) earlier albums, like Peach and Copernicus. On his ambitious, sprawling, and, ultimately, glorious new double album, GOLD, DePlume returns to us the original gift of those earlier works—his voice.
“Don’t forget you’re precious,” he tells us on the A-side of the album’s first single. Across spiritual jazz saxophone hums, wordless chanting, and gently clacking percussion, DePlume’s spoken word positive affirmations guide us through a welcome exercise in remembering self-love. His shamanistic mantras are the through line in the unrehearsed interplay of his large cast of collaborators, resulting in a free-form but spirited flow of intention. Talking to himself as much as he is us, he laments: “I remember to check my Instagram but I forget that I’m precious,” summarily capturing the modern malaise of our times before striking down its charade: “Don’t do it,” he urges, “Don’t forget you’re precious.” On B-side “The Sound of My Feet on this Earth is a Song to Your Spirit,” he goes quiet again, letting the rich, resonant tones of the ethio-jazz inspired sax and spiritual chanting do the talking. We know the message, after all, and we’re exceedingly lucky to have DePlume to remind us. | c depasquale
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