Fans of Damon Albarn were excited to find out that the reunion of Gorillaz was underway, and in the midst of working on new material for the virtual band and other side projects. Albarn gave his fans one more thing to celebrate – new Blur music.
It has been 12 years since the last release of Blur’s album, Think Tank (2003), and 16 years since their original lineup. It was announced from a live stream press conference in London, from a Chinese restaurant, hosted by British Radio DJ Zane Lowe, marking the first day of the Chinese New Year; a theme for the new album. On April 27th, The Magic Whip, will be released and marks the 8th studio album for the rock band. The 12 track-listings were also released: “Lonesome Street,” “New World Towers,” “Go Out,” “Ice Cream Man,” “Thought I Was a Spaceman,” “I Broadcast,” “My Terracotta Heart,” “There are Too Many of Us,” “Ghost Ship,” “Pyongyang,” “Ong Ong,” and “Mirrorball.”
A mention during the live press was Blur’s performance at Hyde Park in London, on June 20th. The band seemed very excited to be with each other sitting on the couch discussing the details with Lowe, as he didn’t want to give away the news just yet; however, Albarn instantly replied that he didn’t want to “string people along,” and “wouldn’t be doing this (press conference)” if it was for just another gig.
The band further reveals that for 5 days they were in a “claustrophobic and hot” recording studio in Hong Kong and decided, during their downtime, to play around and bounce ideas musically off one another. Albarn mentions that they didn’t have much equipment with them at the time, and it was almost like the first time they were in the studio recording, yet they didn’t think anything was going to happen from this time together. Alban recalls that it didn’t “seem concrete or hold anything” to make plans for a new album, which makes the news surprising.
Despite this, all the ideas implemented in the new album were the ideas that bounced off in Hong Kong, keeping the theme, and in a way, paying homage to where they stemmed from. Lead guitarist, Graham Coxon, wanted to see if there was anything there and to let the ideas “ferment,” as he went over the notes. Coxon told Albarn that if he found anything worth pursuing, they would start finalizing their ideas into songs.
There were lots of ideas, and as Stephen Street (producer) began looking over the band’s notes, upon their request, he felt that there was something special to the music, credited to the fact that the band was “free” and just putting out ideas in the studio. The live stream was open and available to take any questions online via Facebook. One of the questions brought to attention was if the band planned on playing in America. Their answer, “maybe, if anyone’s interested.”