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

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 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!