March 7, 2012


Blur’s Damon Albarn to Release 'Strange Pastoral' Opera Music

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Last year, Blur/Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn wrote and recorded the score for the opera Dr Dee, which he wrote and starred in himself about the life of John Dee, a mathematician, alchemist, philosopher and advisor to Elizabeth I. The opera debuted in July at the Manchester International Festival, but on May 8 its score will finally arrive as a CD, download and vinyl. Sweet.

Recorded at Albarn's West London studio and also in Salford, outside Manchester, with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the 18-track collection pairs Albarn’s lyrics and vocals with early English, West African and Renaissance sounds. Albarn describes the music as "strange pastoral folk," and a new trailer speaks to just that. In the clip—which you can watch below—Albarn is seated in a studio, singing about John Dee—“the movement of your heart will prove you are not quite dead”—as all sorts of woodwind and stringed instruments surround him.

Albarn will perform Dr Dee songs at OneFest in the UK on April 14, and this summer during the Olympic Games, the English National Opera will show performances of Dr Dee at the London Coliseum. Click here for details.

Dr Dee is, like, the millionth project for Albarn lately. He conquered earth on tour with the Gorillaz; He collabored with James Murphy and Andre 3000; He kicked Adele offstage at the Brit Awards. Now he’s working on Blur’s reunion album, recording with Flea as Rocket Juice and the Moon, helping with Bobby Womack (who sang on the last Gorillaz LP) on his next release and slowly putting together a solo album. All exciting. But let’s make that solo album priority numero uno.

Watch the Dr Dee trailer below, then tell us what you think in the comments.