Damon Albarn and Tony Allen team up for new single ‘Go Back’, taken from Allen’s forthcoming album ‘Film of Life’ (October 2014)Offering an exciting sneak preview of Film of Life, the new album from Tony Allen due for release in October on Jazz Village, the poignant ballad “Go Back” was written with Damon Albarn, who features on vocals and keyboards. Set to a driving, hypnotic beat, the two musicians have created a homage to the African refugees who ended up on the Italian island of Lampedusa. This dds to the collective adventures of Albarn and the cult Nigerian drummer, whose paths first crossed over ten years ago for the album Home Cooking, followed by albums with The Good, the Bad and the Queen, Rocket Juice and The Moon and Africa Express.
Allen and Albarn wrote and recorded ‘Go Back’ in Allen’s Paris studio in one day 10am-10pm, sandwiched between Albarn’s hectic touring schedule, and both musicians regard the track as the very essence of their musical and spiritual connection, established over a decade ago. In 2000, Blur released ‘Music is My Radar’, which featured the lyric “Tony Allen got me dancing”, and 2 years later Tony Allen was recording his album Home Cooking (Wrasse records, 2003) at a studio near Tottenham Court Road, London. Aware that Albarn was a fan, Allen invited him to attend the session. They became instant friends and Albarn and Allen’s first collaborative effort, the single ‘Every Season’, was committed to tape, Albarn finishing the recording from the comfort of his home studio. Since then, the duo have frequently sought each other out, from the nomadic Africa Express project to the ephemeral Afro-rock group Rocket Juice and The Moon, not to mention the rock supergroup The Good, the Bad and the Queen, they have proved themselves to be steadfast companions. When Tony says that he has not enjoyed such a fulfilling musical relationship since his time playing with Fela, Damon replies that he considers Tony to be “the greatest drummer in the world”.
Embarking on the difficult subject of the tragedy of exile, ‘Go Back’ is more than a mere exchange of courtesies, their heartfelt sincerity is undeniable, Albarn’s melodic finesse perfectly attuned to the legendary suppleness of Allen’s rhythms.