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June 29, 2011

Graham Coxon discusses latest album in Glastonbury 2011

Following his set at today's (June 25) Glastonbury festival, Graham Coxon chatted to NME about how he will be releasing a new solo album after this summer.

The Blur man spoke about the follow-up to his 2009 effort 'The Spinning Top', saying he had plenty of material for the album.




"I've recorded enough for two [albums]," he explained. "I'm not in any rush, I want to start working on that after the summer – I want to concentrate on festivals and start thinking about putting an album out then."




Coxon also spoke about headlining Glastonbury with Blur in 2009 and compared it to this year's solo slot. "It's the same sort of feeling, but the Blur thing was a little bit overwhelming," he said. "Obviously this [the show on The Park stage] was a lot more nervous energy. The Blur thing was a bit more of a laid back thing."

When asked how it felt to headline Glastonbury, Coxon said: "It's immense, really. It gives you an amazing feeling, especially if it goes as well as it did a couple of years ago… Loads of people, suave guitar, loads of amps – it's pretty good."

He added that his favourite Glastonbury memory was playing 'Beetlebum' with the band that year, during the sunset. When asked if Blur had got together recently for any writing sessions, he was quick to dispel any rumours, with a sharp "No."

Coxon said he was up for watching The Horrors and Tame Impala but added that he might not venture out of The Park area as "I don't like traipsing around much!" When asked if he'd watch fellow Britpop icons Pulp play on the same stage he had later in the evening he said: "Yeah, that'll be nostalgic."

Coxon played on The Park stage this afternoon (June 25) with his five-piece band and drew a large crowd, many of whom had to stand ankle-deep in thick mud to watch.

Graham Coxon played this setlist:

'No Good Time'
'Advice'
'Don't Let Your Man Know'
'Standing On My Own Again'
'I Can't Look At Your Skin'
'Dead Bees'
'City Hall'
'Running For Your Life'
'You And I'
'Sorrow's Army'
'Ooh Yeh Yeh'
'Freakin' Out'



Source : NME 


It looks like Graham Coxon has been busy as a bee with his new solo works, but we can't help wondering what's up with Blur ? Damon's been fishy and all bottled up, Graham Coxon's now making his new albums and the other two guys have just been strutting their own thing. We want news! 




Meanwhile, Graham Coxon played live at the Glastonbury 2011 Park Stage - hear him play Standing On My Own Again and Freakin' Out by clicking HERE for the BBC Music Player (UK only). 


Meanwhile, remember to subscribe and "LIKE" BlurBalls on Facebook, or email subscribe to receive the latest news on everything Blur, Gorillaz, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon! 


June 27, 2011

Gorillaz to collaborate with The Beatles in a new single

Paul McCartney has hinted that he could be on the verge of collaborating with Gorillaz and may appear in the next Gorillaz single. 

The surprise move would see the former Beatle join the ranks of the likes of Snoop DoggBobby Womack and Lou Reed, who have all appeared alongside Damon Albarn's animated band.

McCartney was speaking to TheQuietus.com as he releases reissues of his two solo albums 'McCartney' and 'McCartney II'. Paul
 is on the promotional trail for the re-release of his solo albums McCartney I and II - and revealed his admiration for the talents of Damon and his Gorillaz co-star, artist Jamie Hewlett



He said: "We have kind of talked - nothing serious but I like what they do. It's got near a couple of times but we never had the time."



Sources in both camps believe it is only a matter of time before they get together in the studio.
Macca was a huge admirer of the work Damon did on his opera Monkey: Journey To The West.
The former BEATLE is putting the finishing touches to his own score for the New York City Ballet - so they have a lot in common creatively.

Damon presented Macca with a Q Magazine Icon award a few years ago, at the same bash where he himself won an Inspiration gong - and the collaboration conversation has been rumbling on since.
A source said: "Damon originally brought up the idea of doing something with Gorillaz at the Q Awards and they have been trying to sort something since. It never worked out on the last album, Plastic Beach, but things are looking good for something together in the future."

Expanding upon the rumours, a ‘source’ told The Sun: "Damon originally brought up the idea of doing something with Gorillaz at the Q Awards [in 2007] and they have been trying to sort something since. It never worked out on the last album, 'Plastic Beach', but things are looking good for something in the future."

McCartney is currently putting the finishing touches to a score for the New York City Ballet. Similar to Damon and his opera , huh ?



If this is true, then it's about time Gorillaz get to the top of the charts again. Meanwhile, remember to subscribe and "LIKE" BlurBalls on Facebook, or email subscribe to receive the latest news on everything Blur, Gorillaz, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon! 


June 25, 2011

"LIKE" BlurBalls on Facebook !

Please support BlurBalls by clicking the "Like" button on Facebook below! The new BlurBalls fanpage is awesome and really colorful, and hopefully it'll make more people connected to our little world of Blur, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Gorillaz. Please do check it out, and feel free to add me on Facebook.



Remember to LIKE! Please! It means the world to me!


June 24, 2011

Blur possibly to play in the USA - 2011

American fans watch out - for Blur may play in the USA very soon. 

A featured piece about Dr.Dee has just been published on the Guardian website here

'I'm not a monarchist. But I'm English. And I have an irrational emotion for my country' ... Damon Albarn at a rehearsal for his opera, Doctor Dee. Photograph: Jonny Donovan
As well as new information, Damon talks about Blur, his Flea + Tony Allen album (a bit of work still to do; it's 'largely instrumental') and plans to make an album in a week in the Congo this summer. 

The part that interests us most is of course, the BLUR part. Blur, Albarn says, may reunite again, to play their old songs in the US, though when asked about the possibility of new Blur songs, the reply was  a mumbled "don't know". There is also final work to be done on a largely instrumental album made by Albarn, Allen and the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist 
Michael "Flea" Balzary.

The whole article is found below. Do read it all.. it's an interesting read and Damon is giving better and better interviews as he progresses. 

----------------------------------------------------------------

It's Tuesday morning in the mess of glass, metal and international retail brands that is modern Manchester, though Damon Albarn has arranged to meet me somewhere very different. Just across the road from the city's Victoria station is Chetham's Library – the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, and a place once frequented by Karl Marx. Inside its reading rooms, there is a beautiful hush.
Albarn, currently sporting a thick beard, is here in connection with someone currently much on his mind: John Dee, the confidante of Elizabeth I, mathematician, navigational pioneer, alchemist and supposed magician who served as the building's warden for 10 years at the end of the 1500s, when it was an adjunct of the nearby cathedral. By this time, having blazed an intellectual trail across Britain and Europe, Dee was at the end of his life, with plenty of controversy and emotional wreckage behind him. One biography sums up his presence in Manchester as a matter of "virtual exile, placing him far outside the orbit of the Queen and her court". His existence here seems to have been forlorn and unproductive, and made yet more wretched by the death of Elizabeth in 1603. He returned to London two years later, but lived for only another three years – though at 82 he hardly died young.
Now, Dee's ghost has returned to Manchester in rather more favourable circumstances. Albarn and the director Rufus Norris have built an "English Opera" entitled Doctor Dee around his story, which will be premiered as part of the Manchester International festival on 1 July. On the other side of town, a company of actors and dancers is deep in rehearsal, while elsewhere the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra is perfecting the score – any time now, they will be joined by a core of musicians, including Tony Allen, the 70-year-old Nigerian drummer whom Albarn credits with a "cosmic pulse". Albarn himself will take an onstage role – delivering, he says, songs that draw lines between Dee's time and our own, centred on "relationships, religion, hedonism, the reinvention of ritual . . . and politics, a little bit. There's a lot going on."
To make things even more interesting, the production is intended to evolve as it's rehearsed and performed, which partly explains Albarn's visit to Chetham's library: when the chief librarian appears with a handful of books once owned by Dee and strewn with his annotations, Albarn reaches for an A4 notebook, and scribbles down at least one line he seems to think might help him with a lyric. "This isn't like making a record," he says. "It changes. And when we present it on that first night, it'll still be in a state of flux."
Alchemy and court intrigue, the linking of two Elizabethan ages, and music that fuses no end of influences: as the Guardian's music critic Alexis Petridis put it in 2007, "to think Albarn was once compared unfavourably to Liam Gallagher . . . These days, that seems a bit like comparing David Bowie to Les Gray of Mud."
The range of his recent(ish) work is dazzling. In January 2007, Albarn released The Good, The Bad and The Queen, created by a band including Tony Allen and the former Clash bassist Paul Simonon, and sprinkled with the same English mysticism that the music from Doctor Dee evokes. Later the same year, there was the premiere of Monkey: Journey to the West, the work of Albarn, the artist Jamie Hewlett and the Chinese actor and director Chen Shi-Zheng. In 2009, Blur temporarily reformed, crowning their return with a performance at Glastonbury; and in 2010, Albarn released the third album by his ongoing pop projectGorillaz, featuring, as always, Hewlett's artwork. And now there is this – his bravest step yet away from the musical mainstream.
The genesis of Doctor Dee dates back at least two years. Alex Poots, the Manchester festival's director, had approached the writer and graphic novelist Alan Moore with a view to involving him in a stage production, and Moore's passionate interest in Dee led to a meeting with Albarn and Hewlett. Albarn had already begun to think about working on an unspecified "heartfelt English piece", and learning about Dee's story hardened his resolve – but Moore and Hewlett then dropped out, leaving Albarn in charge of the project.
"I knew I had a fascination with aspects of history that were slightly more esoteric," he tells me. "I enjoyed history at school. I'd always had a sense of Pagan England. I have very clear memories of getting caught up in a TV series about Robin Hood when I was a kid. And I can remember having a strong sense of imagery from an old monastery in Sussex, near a house we were living in for the summer. This is all a personal thing: my relationship with these aspects of being English. But this story had so many catalysts: it didn't seem like it would be too mad an idea to start thinking in musical terms."
"I do harbour this feeling about my country, and it doesn't come out that often, because I'm off doing other things," he goes on. "Which is great, because that way, it gets stronger, and it's nice to wait till it really needs to come out. So this is more than something I'm doing for a festival. It's been brewing for ages, trying to find its essence."
Albarn's first source of information was The Queen's Conjuror, a much-praised biography of Dee by Benjamin Woolley, published in 2001. "That showed me how little I knew," he says. "The references go all over the place. So I began to say, 'Well, this month I'm going to be reading up on hermetic tradition. Then cabalism, and then Celtic pagan tradition, then the origins of Christianity.'" He says he's still ploughing through a mound of reading that may take five years to complete; the latest book is The Night Battles, an account of witch-hunts in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg.
Drawing one central storyline from Dee's incredible story looks almost too challenging. His life moved from London, to Cambridge, to Belgium, on to the Elizabethan Court, and in turn to Central Europe. His range of expertise was extraordinary, in an era just before science and the occult began to be disentangled. Dee has been credited with the first use of the term "British Empire"; he certainly insisted that England had a legitimate claim to North America, and argued that territorial expansion had to be led by a navy. His story intersects with those of such major Elizabethan figures as Francis Walsingham and Walter Raleigh; he is also believed to have been the inspiration for Prospero in The Tempest, and possibly for Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.
So where to start? Two weeks before my visit to Manchester, as various rehearsals take place around Albarn's HQ in west London, I talk toDoctor Dee's director, Rufus Norris. Part of the plot, he explains, turns on Dee's meeting with Edward Kelley, a mysterious figure said to be one of the Elizabethan period's itinerant "skryers" – self-styled seers and psychics. The pair began supposedly communicating with spirits, and then angels – who, Dee claimed, dictated no end of material to him in their own "Enochian" language, which he transcribed using odd symbols somewhere between runes and Greek letters. Unfortunately, Kelley's chief impact on his life was not nearly so other-worldly.
"It could be argued that in Britain, if not in Europe, Dee knew more than anyone else," Norris says. "And yet he screwed up when it came to the most simple imperative – to look after the thing that's closest to you. In their last consultation with spirits, Kelley gave him the message from God that they should share their wives. And everything fell apart from there. So in terms of how you find a narrative . . . well, the man learned a huge amount, he searched for more, and that search took him out on a precipice, and he fell off the end. It's a tragedy."
The songs that tell the story draw subtly on Elizabethan music, but also, thanks to Allen, on more unorthodox elements. Doctor Dee's core arrangements are built around organ, harmonium, drums, acoustic guitar, a harp-like Malian instrument called the kora – and such European instruments as the viol and theorbo, the latter a lute-like instrument with a long neck. The music is elegant and full of a sense of warmth and intimacy. In west London I watch a piece called "Godfire" taking shape, intended to suggest both the coronation of Elizabeth I and the recent royal wedding – a reference that might make at least some of Albarn's admirers a little uneasy (in 1997, he turned down an invitation to one of Tony Blair's Downing Street soirees, claiming he was "now a communist"). Alluding to the wedding's ceremonial fly-past, its opening line runs thus: "Hurricanes, spit and Tornado, growled over London today." In Albarn's telling, the song reflects the almost subconscious sense of nationhood that sits at Doctor Dee's heart.
"It was strange," he says. "That day, I was up at the top of my studio. My daughter and her mates wanted to watch the wedding there, because the studio has a big TV. So we were watching it, and I was also watching the fly-past happen outside. I'd just heard 'Jerusalem', and there were trees in the Abbey . . . I was moved."
I say that he doesn't strike me as a monarchist. "I'm not a monarchist. But I'm English. And I have an irrational emotion for my country."
Next year, Doctor Dee will play at the London Coliseum, as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Once its Manchester run ends, Albarn is travelling to Congo, to play his part in a project in which DJs and producers will record and sample Congolese music, and aim to complete a record in not much more than a week. Blur, he says, may reunite again, to play their old songs in the US, though when I ask him about the possibility of new Blur songs, I get a mumbled "don't know". There is also final work to be done on a largely instrumental album made by Albarn, Allen and the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Michael "Flea" Balzary.
And then? I ask him the question in west London, just after he and the musicians have run through another song. Albarn's face breaks into a smirk. "Oh, something that's the opposite of this. The most cheesy pop record ever."
The world premiere of Doctor Dee: An English Opera is at the Palace Theatre, Manchester International festival, 1-9 July 2011. For more details visit mif.co.uk

How exciting! Blur for the USA! 

So stay tuned for more news and subscribe to BlurBalls to get the latest news wherever, whenever you are. 


June 23, 2011

More Doctor Dee Opera updates - Damon Albarn on NME and interview

Just some more updates on Doctor Dee - Damon Albarn's new opera that's going to premier this July. Thanks to 2-J (Gorillaz Unofficial ) from the forums for the heads up.

From this week's NME MAGAZINE - an article with a few new pictures of Damon, sporting a massive beard and talking about his new opera. Click the scans below to enlarge.



Albarn has written 10 new songs that he's going to perform solo in the opera. Looking forward to that very much, especially as one of them, Apple Carts, has been performed in BBC a few days ago. Check that out HERE

And thanks to the Gorillaz Unofficial website, Damon did a little interview about the opera with fan submitted questions. Here is what is on the website:

Last week we gave you the opportunity to send in questions about Dr.Dee (through our blog, forums and twitter) which we'd pass on to Damon. The level of response was great and thanks to all of you who submitted questions - these were the ones that Damon picked out to answer, and his responses. A big thanks to Damon and well done to those who got their questions answered!

1. Is Tony Allen going to appear live in the opera?
Damon: Yes

2. How do you think the change in our concepts of 'science' and 'magic' impact on contemporary culture, particularly British? What's your agenda on that, that you'd like to get across [in the opera]? 
Damon: I like to imagine a reality where we had held on to ritual a little longer in England, bring back tea ladies!

3. What composers influenced you when you composed this opera?
Damon: I don’t know how much rubbed off on me, I hope a bit but I listend to a lot of Notre Dame School French Music.

4.Damon, did you get to handle any of Dee's artifacts at the British Museum? Specifically the Shew Stone?
Damon: There was talk of it but as of now I have not physically held it

5. Is it a comedy or a tragedy?
Damon: I think it might be more of a Requimedy

6. when you were creating the opera's music was it possible to travel back in time and start the composing from Dr. Dee's england? In other words how accurately can you channel your mind to a specific place or time when composing? or does it come naturally?
Damon: Music is time

7. In the trailer for Dr. Dee, the music that is played through-out features an African chime which flows with the imagery in it. Will this style of music be present in your new opera?
Damon: African Chime one of 7
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For More information on Dee check out http://doctorjohndee.tumblr.com/.

Stay tuned and remember to subscribe to Blurballs via email or RSS for the latest, quickest updates on everything Blur, Gorillaz, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon. 


June 20, 2011

Graham Coxon's OFFICIAL FACEBOOK FAN PAGE

Attention all Blur fans - Graham Coxon himself has made an announcement recently to all of us, and it's about his new official fanpage on facebook. Here is the broadcast, straight from the horse's mouth :




Click HERE or visit and like his page at : http://www.facebook.com/graham
coxonofficial


Graham also has a twitter account where he posts funny things all the time. Do check it out at:



Remember to LIKE and Follow him! We support you Graham! 


June 19, 2011

New Damon Albarn song "Apple Carts" from Doctor Dee Opera - June 2011

We have a surprise after a lack of news lately - Damon Albarn performed a new song from his new opera Doctor Dee in The Andrew Marrs show yesterday. The song's named "Apple Carts" and it is beautifully sounding, with Albarn's deep croning and soft guitar playing, and kind of resembles his style in The Good The Bad and The Queen. Listen to it by CLICKING HERE
You can also watch the full interview from BBC website (UK Only) by clicking HERE.





The following commentary was by dougharrison from the Blur forums thread:

The only thing said about the opera that were newly mentioned are that: 

1) Its an exploration of Englishness at the time and Dee is the central character rather than it being purely about Dee. 

2) The show is in 3 sections a celestial plane, where musicians such as Tony Allen, the stage/England presumably and an underworld, where the main orchestra is. 


Damon is still not a huge fan of interviews, didn't seem particularly comfortable. After the part about Dee being English the interviewer said this had been present in previous work and Damon said something along the lines of that it was a totally separate from Blur project, but some songs could have been Blur songs and concluded by saying he didn't know what place i.e. project/band he is currently at and writing for. I probably haven't rephrased that particularly well.

I really like the song, it's a great start to possibly a new album by Damon Albarn after his opera, hopefully like Monkey Journey to the West. It's beautiful and soothing, and a song about Silbury Hill and apples fits Damon's simple British style of music writing.



Doctor Dee the opera will premier at the Manchester International Festival in July 2011, and it will then be staged at the home of the English National Opera as part of London's Cultural Olympiad programme. 


Visit their official website here and follow them! 


June 1, 2011

Damon Albarn ranked 24th in The Music Power 100 - Guardian May 2011

Damon Albarn features in the Guardian's 'The Music Power 100'  (the most influential people in music today), at a rank of 24. The article writes, and I transcribe directly:

24 Damon Albarn
Artist: Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad and the Queen
Label Executive: Co-founder, Honest Jon's

Far from the knowing, ambitious rock frontman he was in the early days of Blur, Albarn has revealed himself to be one of British music's most invigorating renaissance men. As well as his involvement in Gorillaz and The Good, the Bad and the Queen, the Honest Jon's label he co-founded has brought African, Caribbean and obscure black American to young, hip audiences, and his experiments in opera are helping to dismantle the barriers between "high" and "low" art.  

Click on the picture below to read the scan full sized (credits to damon4president for the scan). 


I would say it's a pretty accurate and honest description. But he should have been ranked even higher, some of the rankings seem a bit sketchy. And Damon Albarn is definitely help breaking barriers in many many different areas, not just whatever "high" and "low" art is ! Any opinions ? 


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