HEAVEN IN DEVON

The three jet back from Africa, and straight down to Devon to finish their new album...

BLUR are back in the UK – and will finish mixing in DEVON.

The album, the band’s seventh, is now almost complete. Currently untitled, the record is due for release early next year. Bassist Alex James has revealed that him, Damon Albarn and drummer Dave Rowntree are looking at another unconventional place to work. They recently flew out to Morocco with Fatboy Slim, where they spent five weeks recording.

Blur chose Devon instead of their traditional studio, Townhouse in London’s Shepherd’s Bush, to finish the LP.

“The way we make music has changed,” James wrote on the band’s official website. “Now all you need to make an album is a laptop, one decent microphone and a cool haircut. For that matter swap the microphone for a camera and you can make a feature film. Technology is getting cheaper and more accessible, to such an extent that you can completely lose yourself in it.

“You have to make sure that the equipment, which is now cleverer than you are, is doing what you want it to do and not the other way round. It takes a while to work that out.”

James said that in the 12 months since work started on the new record, he has recorded with “girls, greboes, orchestras and maniacs”, and explained more the band’s reasons for travelling to Africa – even if it meant leaving estranged guitarist Graham Coxon in London

He concluded: “Sunset takes about three hours. People from the local villages climb the hills and watch it like we watch the telly. It seems to serve a similar purpose. In order for it to work you need good company or something important to think about.

“Mind you, we didn’t come here to go up our arses talking about sunsets; we came here to make a kick ass record. In rural Africa everything is stripped to its essence. The elegant simplicity of Moroccan architecture and the subtle minimalism of the décor are as posh as anything we get at home. There’s people up the road and they’ve got no shoes. They don’t care, they haven’t left Eden and they’re not going anywhere. If you don’t wear shoes you just get blisters in different places. There’s no fatties and no failure as far as I can see.

“By leaving the clutter of our lives behind we’ve managed to set ourselves free. That’s all you can hope to do as a musician. Africa is a long way from home. Further than Australia. It’s another country and they do things differently here. Different God and everything. Making music takes you to all the great cites of the Western World, but you never really leave the bubble of Western Civilization; it’s a real effort to do that but aren’t all the best things? Rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.”