Good news for Damon Albarn fans who want less Blur and more projects along the lines of opera "Dr. Dee." Albarn visited BBC Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary to talk about his upcoming solo work "Everyday Robots" and dropped some hints as to what else he has on the back burner.
"I've got another opera-ish sort of thing to do," Albarn said near the end of the interview when asked what else he was working on. Although it has been rumored on and off that Blur would eventually record a proper album, Albarn said only that he intends to work more with the Good, the Bad & the Queen, a sparse project with the Clash's Paul Simonon.
"It's not strictly a record," Albarn said.
Albarn's "Dr. Dee" was a contemplative affair that explored the life and work of the Elizabethan polymath John Dee. As for the subject matter of Albarn's next "opera-ish" endeavor, that will have to wait.
However, a good portion of the BBC Radio 2 interview was spent discussing Albarn's recent trip to North Korea, which he said was a music-related journey "for something I'm kind of doing next year."
In the meantime, however, Albarn will on April 29 release "Everyday Robots" on Warner Bros. Records. The album was recorded last year with Richard Russell, the XL Recordings chief with whom Albarn worked previously on Bobby Womack's acclaimed 2012 disc "The Bravest Man in the Universe."
Albarn credited Russell with inspiring him to make a solo effort and said the producer's role was largely that of "an editor." While "Everyday Robots" is billed as the first proper full-length to appear under Albarn's name, Albarn emphasized that the process wasn't all that different from that of some of his other projects, including the animated electro-pop of the Gorillaz.
"It's the first record with my name on it, but I've been making music on my own," Albarn said. "The Gorillaz records really, apart form the collaborations, were essentially records I made on my own, in that I sat in the studio and played all the instruments."
So far the songs of "Everyday Robots" have been revealed to be low-key affairs, filled with light orchestral touches and interrupting samples or radio static, as if reaching back in time to another era. It's fitting for a work that Albarn said digs "way back into my early childhood," and he described the solo effort as a "very personal narrative."
On the show he performed "Lonely Press Play," a light acoustic number with a repetitive, dour melody that feels in danger of disappearing." With its desoloute, melancholic feel, the song, posted Monday morning by Stereogum, appears on casual listens to unfold like a sorrowful love letter to those nights when one's only company is music.
When asked what it meant, Albarn said little more than it has "something to do with music." Listen below: