With his solo album, Everyday Robots, due out this week, the New York Times takes a look at one of the most important British musicians of his generation.
For most of the show that he played on a recent Thursday night at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan, Damon Albarn
focused on introspective and autobiographical music spanning his pop-music career of some 25 years. Then, as he wound down the set, Mr. Albarn brought out a gospel choir to accompany him on a new song, “Mr. Tembo,”
a cheerful tune that includes the refrain, “It’s where he is now, but it wasn’t what he planned.”It says a lot about Mr. Albarn that he wrote this song for a Tanzanian elephant but that it still ended up being more or less about its author: a sonic explorer who spent the 1990s as the frontman of Blur
, one of the most successful British rock acts of that era, only to set that aside, first for Gorillaz
, a band consisting of fictional cartoon characters, and then for further meanderings in other side projects and immersions in the music of African and Asian cultures.
By following a career that often seems unplanned, Mr. Albarn is now at the point where, at 46, he has completed his first solo album, called “Everyday Robots,” which Warner Bros. Records will release on Tuesday.