Kaprekar’s Constant evolved around eighteen months ago from the activities of songwriters Al Nicholson and Nick Jefferson.
The pair decided to write tracks for an
album without any limitations on style, length, format or target audience.
their love of Jethro Tull, early Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator, the resulting pieces inevitably wound up firmly in the Prog Rock genre.
Sticking with a friend’s mantra that you are allowed to ask anybody anything once, they approached legendary sax player David Jackson to see if he would be willing to contribute to one track.
DJ: Knowing what I’ve done musically, particularly from Van der Graaf Generator, they thought I could add something to their music.
David ended up contributing sax, flute and whistle parts to three epic tracks totalling around 55 minutes of music.
Composer and keyboard player with The Blessing, Mike Westergaard, has been a friend and producer of the pair’s music for many years and an essential part of the project.
NJ: We got in touch with Mike early on as we knew that there was nobody else we wanted to work with. I think if he had been unable to work with us we would have reconsidered the whole thing.
It was Mike who suggested contacting Phil Gould to take care of drums on the long tracks. Founder member of Level 42 and co-writer of many of the band’s most successful music, Phil seemed an unlikely choice genre-wise until it became apparent that he had a great knowledge and love of Prog Rock, particularly early Genesis and Yes.
The project needed singers as neither Nick nor Al are blessed with a singing voice. Nick’s nephew, Bill, was dragged kicking and screaming into the studio as and when his day job with his own band, Natur3, allowed. His natural, West Country, vaguely McGowan snarl suited Hallsands perfectly.
Dorie Jackson was well known to Al, Nick and Mike. Her stunning voice was something the guys were anxious to include on the album. David seems rather pleased to work with his daughter too.
DJ: The best treat of all has been to work on a project with Dorie again. She is always my trusty sounding board, but working together is a special delight. Towards the end of the epic ‘Houdini’, I was stuck for an essential sax line. When Dorie popped into my Tonewall Studio one evening, in the knick of time she sang me the divine solution that I quickly scored for playing later. Imagine my emotion when I heard the rough mix of Dorie’s voices having gradually replaced those horn parts with multi-tracked vocal parts - and my possible idea for a sax solo now reigning supreme!
With artwork being such an integral part of the album package, it was Nick’s brother, fine artist Sean Jefferson who got the inevitable call. Sean has been part of the Ruralist Movement of artists for many years and his stunning oil paintings have been exhibited worldwide.
Two tracks needed spoken parts and actor Paul Gunn was drafted in to add the newsreel style voices.
With website design and development taken care of by Sophie Butters of SB Design, the collective was complete.
Judge the results for yourself.
We’ll leave the last word to David Jackson: “I urge you to listen and share Kaprekar’s Constant. It’s the best music I’ve worked on in a long, long time!”
To be able to work with this group of amazing musicians is a dream come true for Mr Bowler. Getting them on the famous Progdreams VII festival in march 2018 is a lovely first step.