Damon Albarn


Dr DeeEMI ***

Dr Dee is an opera created by theatre director Rufus Norris and Renaissance man Damon Albarn (and inspired in part by comic-book writer Alan Moore), Dr Dee (the character) is a medical and astrological adviser to Elizabeth I. Dr Dee (the album) is something odder altogether, yet credit has to go to Albarn – by this stage surely the most eclectically active rock musician of his generation – for not only embracing such a project but executing it with such attentiveness. That’s not to say that the opera – which was scored for band and orchestra, combining Elizabethan and traditional African instruments – will appeal to Albarn’s more conservative fans. Indeed, some of Dr Dee seems self-consciously obscure and unsettling. Yet for all that there is a deft balance of rugged folk and opera, and a decent tune or three. myspace. com/damonalbarn

Download tracks: Temptation Comes in the Afternoon, The Marvellous Dream, Tree of Beauty