Presenter/Blogger Ky heads down to OneFest to check out Dr Dee…….
When I received a invite to go to Onefest a boutique festival,with the likes of The Magic Numbers’ Michele Stodart,Dry the River, great new band crash&thebandicoots amongst many all on the line up ,a festival taking place for just a day in the rolling Wiltshire countryside.
Being a Blur fan I straight away noticed that Mr Damon Albarn was to Headline OneFest too, noticing the weather to be anything but hot and sunny ,I dug the thermals out and on, I was very excited to see Damon play songs from his new project called Dr Dee. Dr Dee is inspired by the life of John Dee, mathematician, polymath and advisor to Elizabeth I. Described by Albarn as ‘strange pastoral folk’, and being dubbed a mini folk opera and all the talk surrounding it in the press, I couldn’t wait to see what it would be like.
When the time came for Damon Albarn to perform the whole festival crowd gathered to watch the most talked about solo project to date with it being so different to his previous work.
The crowd stood there in silence and with the festival being in the rural hills of Wiltshire, where` mobile phones had become redundant with all signals out you could have heard a pin drop in a hay stack so no sound could interrupt the excitement of seeing the performances, the audience couldn’t wait me included to be taken on this trip into the sound of something new.
As soon as Dr Dee begins ,the music creates atmospheres that have their own humour and their own textures.
Which perfectly suited the swirling darkness and gloom of the encroaching early spring evening in one of the most English places in which the festival was taking place.
The ensemble of Dr Dee sit in a semi-circle with Damon Albarn in the middle sat at his keyboard playing, singing and conducting as they journey through a whole gamut of sounds that are equally challenging and entertaining.
There are some stunning operatics from the female singers including the pure voice of Victoria Couper and a amazing falsetto from the male opera singer. The instrumentation reflects the interest in all kinds of music from Africa included in the sound too.
The music allows you to get lost and you forget your standing in a freezing cold field and your lost in the swirl of sound and you enjoy the twist and turns in the music, your completely involved in the genius collarge of Damon Albarn’s amazing creativity.
Damon exits the stage leaving a old wind up player, playing which is a perfect ending to a very special performance.
Albarn and company’s performance proved a fitting close to a perfect off the wall ending to a quirky new festival on the circuit .I love the way Damon Albarn reinvents himself into something new every time, from Blur to Gorillaz etc..then this, it’s different from any other solo project from a artist from the Britpop era and that’s what I love about his work,Dr Dee will be returning to the stage as a full play in the summer, check it out it’s well worth watching.
And to Find out more about OneFest go to: http://onefestuk.com