Damon Albarn reveals he will release his debut solo album "Everyday Robots" on April 28. The album was recorded at Albarn's 13 studios in west London and was produced by XL records boss Richard Russell. It features guest appearances from Brian Eno and Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes.
The albums title track with the video was already unveiled. The video was directed by Aitor Throup and is a "digital portrait" of Albarn, using CGI software as well as cranial scans of Blur frontman - check it out below.
The Blur and Gorillaz mastermind has debuted a few tracks off his upcoming solo album at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. As NME reports, before an intimate, invite-only audience at YouTube's pop-up venue on Main Street last night on January 19, the Blur frontman performed acoustic versions of five new tracks off his forthcoming solo debut, accompanied by a four-piece string section and keyboards. He then played one track each by Gorillaz and Blur.
The new material, gentle in tone, was reminiscent of Blur's more recent studio offerings. Albarn sang wistfully of isolation and reaching out to loved ones in "Lonely Press Play," before launching into the string-led title song. "Hollow Ponds" name-checked events in history, such as the 1976 British heatwave. Two further tracks, "Hostiles" and "You and Me," followed.
Albarn admitted to feeling "extremely nervous" before the intimate industry crowd, which numbered less than 100, though the new material elicited whoops of delight. The Gorillaz song "On a Melancholy Hill" was particularly well-received - Gorillaz is how most Americans know Albarn - before a clarinet-led version of Blur's "To the End" rounded out the brief, 45-minute set.
Later, Albarn has revealed that he wrote and recorded over 60 songs for "Everyday Robots." As Damon said, an extensive recording process with XL Recordings' Richard Russell led to the creation of the album.
"It's got my name on it and I wrote the songs, but Richard Russell was a fantastic editor and did a lot of the atmospheric stuff, so in a sense it's not entirely my record," Albarn told Rolling Stone. "It is my narrative, and my voice and my songs. I started off giving Richard a lot of songs, 60 or 60-plus - he had the editorship."
Albarn also discussed the guest appearances by Brian Eno and Bat For Lashes' Natasha Khan on the record. He revealed: "Natasha sings a ghostly echo of my voice on the song 'Selfish Giant.' And Brian Eno sings a verse on the last song. He's a neighbour: I used to go to a health club that he goes to as well, but he always did much more interesting things than I did. I'd be on a mind-numbing running machine, and he took water aerobics classes. He was very Eno about it."
Meanwhile, he admitted, that he almost started a new band with his "Everyday Robots" producer Richard Russell. Speaking to Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 6 Music about the making of his solo album, Albarn said: "We first sort of played around with the idea of starting another band, but I think we both realised that's an exhausting process, starting again. I mean, it's fun, but you know, coming up with a name and all of that stuff... "
In the end, Russell told Albarn that he wanted to produce a record for him instead. "At that point it occurred to me that that might be something that I should probably do, 'cos i haven't done it before."
Talking about the album, Albarn explained that the lyrics were "the hardest part." He commented: "The music ... leans towards my more melancholic, introspective soulful side, which is where I love to sing, but lyrically it took me a long time. I wanted it to be about my life, in a way, and I went right back to ... It sort of starts in 1976." He added that every song on the record is rooted in a real life experience, saying that "every line on this record happened."
Damon Albarn is set to headline this summer's Latitude Festival, as well as playing the first ever BBC Radio 6 Music Festival this year alongside Haim and the National. The event will run between February 28 - March 1 at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. Metronomy, Drenge and James Blake have also been confirmed for the festival alongside Wild Beasts, Franz Ferdinand and Jagwar Ma in addition to Luke Sital Singh, Nick Mulvey, Jimi Goodwin, Midlake, Lykke Li, Outfit, Kelis, Kiran Leonard, the Horrors, the Staves and Jake Bugg.
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