Tuesday, August 01, 2006

your regular Albarn update

Fittingly, with Womad just passed (of which more later), a few details are dribbling through of the latest Damon Albarn project; it's nothing much that we don't already know, but it's just enough to start me getting really excited. Details, for those who have lost track of the man's many projects, are as follows:

Albarn has teamed up with Simon Tong, who has played guitar with Blur and Gorillaz (and before that, The Verve, although I don't see why we should hold that against him) and a couple of musicians of a rather more special nature, to record an album of London-themed songs, provisionally titled The Good, The Bad and the Queen. The other musicians are pretty much as good as it gets in their chosen fields: with Joe Strummer sadly departed and Mick Jones reduced to working with Babyshambles, Paul Simonen, who was always the coolest member of The Clash anyway, surely represents - with the possible exception of Jah Wobble or Don Letts - the pinnacle of punk-reggae cool, and Tony Allen - one-time drummer with the magnificent Fela Kuti - is not only the best drummer in Afrobeat but the best in Africa. And in the, er, world, actually. Combine that with the (unconfirmed) presence of Danger Mouse, who is of course a Gorillaz-collaborator and one half of Gnarls Barkley, on production duties and you have what sounds like a helluva band.

According to Mojo, the music demonstrates"a more song-based sensibility than the confluence of Allen and the notoriously Afrocentric Albarn might suggest, with flashes of soul, soundtrack, '60s pop and even Robert Wyatt bleeding through (if pushed, we'd describe it as a song cycle that's also a mystery play about London)."

It sounds ace, in fact. Apparently the band will be playing the Camden Roundhouse in October as part of the BBC's Electric Proms season. Try and stop me.

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