Damon Albarn - Apple Carts
Damon Albarn (of The Gorillaz & Blur) wrote a soundtrack to the opera Dr Dee which was ran its course in England last year. The highlight from the album would have to be Apple Carts.
Dr Dee is based on the life of John Dee (1527-1608/9) who was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. He believed that divinity could be ascertained through mathematics. During his nomadic travels to Bohemia (modern day Poland/Germany/Austria/Czech) and Europe he obtained many magical instruments. Using these instruments and a highly technical forms of mathematics, he supposedly communicated with angels.
Dr Dee accomplished much in his lifetime including establishing one of the largest private libraries outside of Britain’s universities, as well as obtaining an array of artifacts and being responsible for advising seafaring navigation for the British fleet. He continued to delve into magic despite being a devout Christian and an avid supporter of expansionistic imperialism. His rationale for imperialism was the ultimate unification of religion.
Taking inspiration from Platonism and Renaissance thought, John Dee really was a Renaissance man albeit the fact he never visited Italy as far as I know.
Damon Albarn captures the mysticism of Dee beautifully in Apple Carts. The track and the rest of the album is a far cry from his work in the Gorillaz. I think this release continues to show his skill as an artist and sheer musical range.