International Anthem / US / 2023
In order to record the compositions in his critically-acclaimed 2022 release GOLD, Alabaster DePlume instilled a culture of creativity by leading his ensembles in spontaneous composition and development. To allow them to be present, he kept the musicians constantly creating across several weeks of sessions at London creative hub Total Refreshment Centre. This process resulted in an abundance of material, much more than he could fit onto the initial double LP.
After spending most of 2022 touring in support of GOLD, Alabaster spent much of early 2023 revisiting the additional material from those Total Refreshment Centre sessions – adding, subtracting, producing and arranging – resulting in an entirely new album, Come With Fierce Grace.
Come With Fierce Grace is an album made of authentic and unstipulated – yet welcomed – human interaction. It is for the most part an album of instrumentals, with exception of a few vocal features by Momoko Gill (aka MettaShiba), Falle Nioke, and Donna Thompson. However the instrumentals on this album are much more embryonic and unfiltered than the lush orchestrations heard on Alabaster’s breakout 2020 album To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1. Come With Fierce Grace is perhaps the most raw and candid portrait of Alabaster’s creative compositional process we’ve yet to hear, as he’s captured vividly in the room with his collaborators – stretching, exploring, working to deepen and expand the emotions underlying his melodic and poetic frameworks.
Regarding the process, Alabaster cites a similarity to how elements in nature contribute to shared work and beauty without a collective motive – a bee’s own motives result in the delivery of pollen. As he says: “The great thing wants to happen, let us allow it to happen.”
Regarding the origin of the album’s name: On his first trip to perform in the US in March 2022, Alabaster collected messages from individuals, as he asked them if there is anything they would like him to share with his audiences. One message (from a person who preferred to remain anonymous) asked Alabaster to encourage people to “come with fierce grace.”