David Pleasance is a man of many talents. Before, during and after functioning as a Commodore linchpin, his other life-affirming, driving force has been his passion for music.
Beginning in the ’70s he was drawn to Spanish flamenco guitar music and song-writing, became a professional musician and went on to perform around the globe alongside some major players in the industry.
Post-Commodore he set up his own recording studio – Tangent Music Design – and released ‘Everybody’s Girlfriend’ (soon to be available as part of the FriendUP package), a homage to the spirit of the Amiga, and now champions new and aspiring artists to surf in his wake, to evoke his Aussie connections.
It was this fervour to seize upon untapped raw talent and celebrate it that led him to refocus his attention towards the management side of the music business. Hence today, he runs the Glasshouse Acoustic Sessions from his home town in Peterborough, where promising, unsigned bands and artists are encouraged to get in touch to springboard their careers.
Not that he has had to scout far and wide to strike gold. His own sons, Emile and Marcel, clearly share his capacity for hitting the right chord.
Marcel is a singer-songwriter, and plays a range of instruments, while Emile’s speciality is bass and the blues harp. With one successful band – the Cambridge-based, genre-morphing Deltaphonics – already under their belts, they wasted no time in surging ahead to embark on a fresh challenge.
The Satya Dub Orchestra is a five (sometimes six) piece dub, funk, Latin-tinged reggae band that also draws inspiration from soul, jazz, Afro-beat and Australia’s stripped-back beach life ethos. Acoustic and organic, the emphasis is on heavy bass and truth, this being the translation of the Sanskrit word, satya.
The cream of the crop is their debut single, ‘Like Water‘, and ‘True to You‘. Dub reggae has its roots in some pretty meaty, expansive ideologies (Jamaica’s history of intra-racial terror, violence, and murder, and Afro-futurism, for instance), awareness of which lends the tracks an enveloping sense of gravitas. Simultaneously haunting and catchy, they conjure a polarising air of cognitive dissonance, albeit a pleasurably ironic one you’ll be in no hurry from which to escape.
Meanwhile, touching down on planet earth with a thud, their inaugural track sounds to my layperson’s ears like it would dovetail neatly with the otherworldly aesthetics of the James Bond film, Live and Let Die. The one set on the fictitious Caribbean island, San Monique, in which Roger Moore vaults over alligators using their snouts as stepping stones, and tangles with the peccant Kananga who engenders a maleficent mythos surrounding the voodoo priest, Baron Samedi, to keep the locals away from his poppy-heroin crop.
It has an enigmatic, lugubrious vibe that lures you in with or without your blessing, much like 007 who is lulled into an esoteric, occult milieu he can’t quite fathom, is alienated by, and yet at the same time finds himself bewitched and incapacitated.
Pretentious, clueless waffle aside, I had no idea of the true origins and semantics of the tracks so asked the song-writer himself to give me the low-down. Here’s what Marcel had to say…
“Like Water: A song about learning to let go and being open and honest in your relationships, because the truth flows like water and water is always flowing and always finds a way through, no matter what you do to try to contain it.”
“True to you: this is essentially a political song but the message is about learning to be your true self once again, and understanding that society is designed as a trap to control you by teaching you that as an individual you are not important, and that you should be a “cog in a machine”. The lesson is to find out who you are and embrace your journey, because ultimately that is all that really matters and that is what will truly fulfil your life purpose.”
If pop is more your genre, Marcel performs the most beautiful acoustic cover version I’ve ever heard of Al Green’s 1972 no. 1 hit, ‘Let’s Stay Together’. You’ll find it 40 minutes and 30 seconds into the interview he conducted with Peterborough FM Radio’s Brian Watson. While you may not visit the same dimension Marcel is transported to when he sings, you’ll certainly be moved.