Recording The Jester, a blog entry from Daniel Inzani‘s website.
Last summer I heard ‘Copernicus’ by Alabaster dePlume. I was amazed by it’s blend of colourful, orchestral textures, with imaginative and playful wordplay. When we met soon after we had a long, thoughtful two-minute discussion and decided to have a jam with the intention of making a record together, whatever sort of record we wanted! Once you have made that decision, conceptualising a record is a lot of fun, like picking any combinations of flavours and toppings for your very own perfect ice-cream sundae.
We congregated an ensemble of trusted musicians and we picked well: a fine variety of strings, percussion and horns to give life to our ideas, piano, saxophone and voice. With our compatibly different material as a platform, we wanted the right recording process and set out to create an environment where we could encourage and capture fresh, improvised and heart-felt live recordings. We turned to Drezz’s mobile studio ‘The Tape Rooms’ (who recently recorded albums for many of us with ‘Count Bobo and the Bullion’ and ‘Bert Miller and the Animal Folk’) to make a relaxed home set up. Then in January this year, with everything in place and deliberately minimal rehearsal, we took a week out of our lives and made ‘The Jester’.
It was an experiment, and what I learned from it was what I wanted to do with my life. To play in harmony with interactive, sensitive and frankly incredible musicians whilst the analogue ear of tape machines and vintage gear listen and create a sound that is even more satisfying is a musical experience beyond comparison. The arrangements of the songs were often improvised and finalised as a group, with a few recordings totally unprepared. Some takes chosen for the album were the first time the songs had even been played as a group for the unreplicable freshness of such a performance, which is a testament to the ability and attitude of the collective.
At the end of each days recording it was time for mixing, as we needed to record over the tapes the following day. This is a ruthless process and performance in it self, complete with every painful moment of magic and wonderful mistake. Each day bought a different selection of the ensemble together and the week ended with a surreal listen back and cherry picking of several takes of our material. Although I was quietly confident we were onto something special I was overwhelmed by the experience and the music we made. In fact, over overwhelmed and thankful for the energy and time put into the record by the ensemble, who I hope can take as much pride and happiness from their input as I have from working with them.
The record is being released on vinyl, CD and as a digital download on 8th July, and is to be accompanied by the artwork of many talented friends. To find out more visit:
The release will be celebrated with several album launch shows which are detailed on the website, but in particular intrest to my friends in the south-west there is a Bristol album launch at The Folk House on 20th July. Presented at the event will be a collection of artwork, created in response to The Jester, by artists from around the country and a special guest support slot from Wenonoah.
The Jester Ensemble
Alabaster DePlume – tenor saxophone and vocals
Daniel Inzani – upright piano and chorus
Jessica Macdonald – cello and chorus
Leon Boydon – acoustic bass and chorus
Dan Truen – drums and chorus
Dominie Hooper – vocals and percussion
Lorenzo Prati – tenor saxophone, penny whistle and chorus
Hannah Miller – cello
Beth Porter – cello
Stefan Asanovic – percussion and chorus
Aaron Catlow – violin, tiny harmonica and chorus
Pete Gibbs – percussion and chorus