LONDON’S DREAMING: Damon Albarn’s Musings on Magick

May 29, 2012

My review of Damon Albarn’s new solo LP is now up on the website. Fans of Blur, The Gorillaz and even The Good, The Bad and The Queen are in for a surprise as the pixie manic frontman of Britpop turns in a wistful, somber gem of an album. 

Still, read on and find out why and how he tackled the life of John Dee, he of Brittania. And how it all turned out as a narrative of songs.

Music review: On Damon Albarn’s ‘Dr Dee,’ an English rock opera

BY KARL R. DE MESA May 28, 2012 1:04pm
When I first encountered it on Blur, I was reluctant to dig into Damon Albarn’s body of work. In that day’s Oasis vs Blur split I came down in favor of the former, finding something comforting in the blue collar, rude boys from the neighborhood swagger of the Gallaghers’ psychedelic reimagining of T. Rex, The Beatles and MC5.
Blur’s songs were melodic but too clever, precious but never entirely straightforward, affected with too much frolic; pandering to an art school, wannabe bohemian crowd (especially to beret-wearing girls) in the worst way, at a time when the world was still reeling in a post-grunge backlash.

It took The Gorillaz’ marvelously multi-layered, post-modern golem extravaganza of a debut album for me to realize that Mr. Albarn is a genius. Which just means I ate several murders while enjoying and rethinking my scorn for Think Tank, Park Life, Leisure, et al. Crow tastes like Cheetos in 20/20.
And now “Dr. Dee,” released earlier this May on Parlophone with local distribution by Polyeast Records Phils, an album about the 16th century English mysteriarch and magician, best-remembered for coining the term “Brittania.”
With a libretto mired in frustrated dead end drafts, revisions, and creative arguments with no less than comics giant Alan Moore (who let his displeasure be known in a couple of press statements), Albarn’s taken this one firmly in control and stepped way out of his comfort zone into a dimensional, retro gateway. The most noticeable of which is the use of his voice as a somber, almost elegiac instrument to chart the rise and fall of the titular John Dee.
Read the rest of it HERE. 

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