Happy 50th Birthday, Damon Albarn, collaborator extraordinare!
March 22, 2018 8:07 PM   Subscribe

Today is Damon Albarn's 50th birthday. You may know Damon from such bands as Blur and Gorillaz. Recently, Noel Gallagher has said that he wants Albarn to do a guest appearance on his next album, which isn't as odd as it might sound...

Damon Albarn enjoys working with other musicians (as evidenced by the number of people he's brought in for Gorillaz) and has released several collaborative albums: 2002's Mali Music with Afel Bocoum, Toumani Diabaté & friends; 2007's The Good, the Bad & the Queen with Tony Allen, Paul Simonon & Simon Tong; 2011's Kinshasa One Two as the DRC Music group; 2012's Rocket Juice & the Moon with Tony Allen & Flea; and Maison Des Jeunes as Africa Express.

Additionally, Albarn has done many guest appearances on other artists' albums:

- Terry Hall – Rainbows EP (1995) (on "Chasing a Rainbow")
- Terry Hall – Laugh (1997) (on "Room Full of Nothing")
- The Rentals – Seven More Minutes (2000) (on "Big Daddy C")
- Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030 (2000) (on "State of the Nation" & "Time Keeps on Slipping")
- Lovage – Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By (2001) (on "Lovage (Love That Lovage, Baby)")
- Tony Allen – Home Cooking (2002) (on "Every Season")
- Massive Attack – 100th Window (2003) (on "Small Time Shot Away")
- Fatboy Slim – Palookaville (2004) (on "Put It Back Together")
- Roots Manuva – Awfully De/EP (2005) (on "Awfully Deep (Lambeth Blues)")
- Kano – London Town (2007) (on "Feel Free")
- U-Cef – Halalwood (2008) (on "Stick")
- The Black Ghosts – The Black Ghosts (2008) (on "Repetition Kills You")
- Eslam Jawaad – The Mammoth Tusk (2009) (on "Alarm Chord")
- Scratch – Loss 4 Wordz (2009) (on "Too Late [with Talib Kweli]")
- Massive Attack – Heligoland (2010) (on "Saturday Come Slow")
- Kano – Method to the Maadness (2010) (on "Bassment")
- JJ DOOM – Key to the Kuffs (2012) (on "Bite the Thong")
- Deltron 3030 – Event 2 (2013) (on "What Is This Loneliness")
- Tony Allen – Film of Life (2014) (on "Go Back") *** THIS IS THE OFFICIAL VIDEO AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY ME
- De La Soul – and the Anonymous Nobody... (2016) (on "Here in After")
- Kano - Made in the Manor (2016) (on "Deep Blues")
- Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory (2017) (on "Love Can Be...")
- Mura Masa - Mura Masa (2017) (on "Blu")
- Tony Allen – The Source (Blue Note, 2017) (on "Cool Cats")
posted by elsietheeel (25 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't quite the post I imagined it would be, but I love it almost as much as I love Damon Albarn so I hope you enjoy it too. <3
posted by elsietheeel at 8:08 PM on March 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Well they’re both Big Beat guest vocalist regulars so it makes some sense. Liam’s still an ass though.
posted by Artw at 8:21 PM on March 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

2002's Mali Music with Afel Bocoum, Toumani Diabaté & friends

This album is wonderful but I haven't thought about it in years, excellent excuse to check it out again. So good.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:42 PM on March 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

I love Damon Albarn. Thanks for this post.
posted by joelhunt at 8:50 PM on March 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

This album is wonderful but I haven't thought about it in years, excellent excuse to check it out again. So good.

I know, right? I hadn't listened to it in at least five years, maybe even double that, (and I even own it on vinyl because I am a Damon nerd) but today I listened to it again and I was just blown away by how honest and genuinely good it is.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:51 PM on March 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

I forgot how much I love Deltron and how there needs to be more weird dystopian/SF-ish atmospheric (and harder) hip hop. Gorillaz kind of only teases that itch but is poppy/indie/whatever. There's some of the NinjaTune offshoot stuff, but most of it is weird and often too clever, IDM or hipster. Some of the Tribe Called Quest and De La Sol hits these notes and politics but doesn't have the cool spacey vibe and open canvas and stuff the Deltron taps.

Anyway, hey, script writers of the universe: If you're going to pitch us into some kind of worse-than-Idiocracy world plot hellscape filled with bizzare character names, can you at least throw us a few more Deltron albums?
posted by loquacious at 9:11 PM on March 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

Aren’t you missing a pretty significant one?
posted by rory at 11:37 PM on March 22, 2018

Definitely on the "and harder" side, but in recent dystopian SF hip hop, there's the (Hugo nominated!) Splendor and Misery, if you haven't heard it already
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:37 PM on March 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Damon's dad, Keith, has also done some unusual and fruitful collaborations. Like his son's work, it's artistically brilliant and/or a colossal put-on
posted by scruss at 12:15 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

blur > Oasis * 1,000,000

If you don't recognize Deltron, he's the rapper on Gorillaz big hits Clint Eastwood and Shake Your Pants, both collaborations with Dan the Automator. The two Deltron albums, Positive Contact and Event II are sci-fi hip hop concept albums, and are some of the smartest hip hop I've ever heard. Damon's on both.

Automator also does the beats for Lovage, one of Mike Patton's many side projects featuring the silky vocals of Jennifer Charles of Elysian Fields.

If you're a fan of Dan the Automator, I must recommend Got a girl - I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now.

Happy birthday Damon!

Let's not forget this track off his very first album ever

blur - Birthday
posted by adept256 at 2:16 AM on March 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

I have a love/hate thang for Demon Allbran. He's done so much great music, some of which has held me together in the dark times like none other, and he's always out there doing intelligent new stuff that consistently scores very low on the suckage spectrum, so why does he annoy me so much? I think it's me reacting to his aura of control-freakery on a quantum level, it tunnels through my desire to just enjoy the music. And yes, the massive put-on is there so often, the cleverer-than-thou artifice that is backed, so annoyingly, by so much actual talent. Though the mix isn't nearly so bothersome in Blur, where I think he's balanced out nicely by Coxon's persona in particular.

Not that I mind, really. My contribution to the festschrift is this cracking cover with Matt Sharp of an obscure early Tubeway Army song. We Have A Technical, which has its own curious resonances with Deltron's tech dystopian ditties, but I should just note that now and expand on it on the Gary Numan fanpost I think I must make at some point. I happened to re-listen to Deltron 3030 just two nights ago - definitely a wanted-on-voyage record (and if you haven't heard Lux Aeterna, the 1970 symphonic operatic rock what's-it-got-it's-got-the-lot William Sheller composition which is not so much a principle sample as the entirety of the title track, you should).

As a counterpoint to what I find irksome with DA, here's today's Desert Island Discs with David Byrne, which is easy, engaging, thoughtful, witty charm delivered by the gallon.
posted by Devonian at 5:19 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Aren’t you missing a pretty significant one?

I was going for recognizable vocals, not instrumental collaborations/features.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:07 AM on March 23, 2018

Recently, Noel Gallagher has said that he wants Albarn to do a guest appearance on his next album

I'm sure a lot of mediocre artists want Albarn to do a guest appearance, not just Noel.

But in all seriousness, Albarn did the score for my favorite "it's kinda bad, but really it's great" movie, Ravenous. His music is one of the things really holding it all together.
posted by explosion at 6:12 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

the Gary Numan fanpost I think I must make at some point

Yes, you must!
posted by jason_steakums at 6:22 AM on March 23, 2018

It was the man's 60th birthday last week, which i belatedly realise was the perfect time. But close enough.

I shall put my finest Machmen on the task forthwith. Launch party at Zom-Zoms?
posted by Devonian at 6:39 AM on March 23, 2018

You may also know Deltron as Del tha Funkee Homosapien.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:03 AM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

(Maybe that's more for us olds though.)
posted by elsietheeel at 7:04 AM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I can't believe that I am the first one to mention the opera he worked on?
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:33 AM on March 23, 2018

Which one?

I left out the musical as well.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:53 AM on March 23, 2018

Also this one (ivan ivanych samovar beat me to it nvm)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:03 AM on March 23, 2018

Squeee! An excuse to post this video, which brings me so much joy, and features so much goofy Albarn dancing. Woo hoo hoo.
posted by Ruki at 2:46 PM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

(That's really woo hoo hoo, not woo hoo.)
posted by Ruki at 2:48 PM on March 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

OMG Ruki that's amazing and adorable! I've never seen it before. (I admit my slavish Damon fandom fell off right about the time that YouTube rose up - although some of the first things I ever posted to YT were videos I took at TGTBATQ gigs in San Francisco and Latitude festival.)
posted by elsietheeel at 2:57 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

(excited fangirlish squeal) Thank you for posting all these Albarn collaborations, elsietheeel, this is great!

(also for that link to Mistadobalina, which I heard for the first time a few months ago and went "Dell tha Funkee Homosapien? That name sounds familiar, who was... oh yeah! Clint Eastwood with the Gorillaz!)
posted by elsilnora at 3:11 PM on March 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

One bit of Albarnalia that escapes me - I watched the Blur reunion gig at Glasto 2009 as it happened, and DA getting overwhelmed during To The End was for me one of the high points in the band's latter trajectory. That isn't on the YouTube capture of the gig, and I haven't been able to find it elsewhere. so if anyone knows where I can see it again I'd be fiyd.
posted by Devonian at 5:40 PM on March 23, 2018

« Older The Cheers conspiracy   |   Scritches not stitches Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments