The Blur fans were saddened to hear of the passing away of John Davis who was a truly wonderful audio mastering engineer who mastered numerous records of all major Damon Albarn’s projects – solo, Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad and The Queen, Monkey… – and many many other artists you know and love, from Led Zeppelin to Lana Del Rey. It is needless to mention that he was such a lovely human being and a big fan of Damon’s work, too.
Damon Albarn said:
“The dark arts of mastering have always amused and fascinated me. John is an adept and I’ve always enjoyed watching him cast his mercurial magic.”
Damon: “The dark arts of mastering have always amused and fascinated me. John is an adept and I’ve always enjoyed watching him cast his mercurial magic.”
John Davis, a truly wonderful mastering engineer who worked on numerous Damon's records sadly passed away on September 13 💔 pic.twitter.com/YvAlx7Eixr
— Damon Albarn Unofficial (@DamonUnofficial) September 15, 2023
Meanwhile, Blur, R.E.M., Garbage, Idlewild and more are set to reissue albums from the 1990s for next month’s National Album Day via NME. It was announced earlier this year that National Album Day will take place on October 14 and feature a special spotlight on the ’90s. Other artists set to reissue records on the day include Fatboy Slim, Bob Dylan, Wu-Tang Clan, Jeff Buckley and more.
This year marks the sixth edition of the event – which originally launched in 2018 – and seeks to shine a light upon the artists and albums that defined the 1990s. The event will also celebrate 75 years of the album LP format.
Albarn and producer James Ford have recently shared an insight into the recording of the band’s latest The Ballad Of Darren album. It has come to light that few plugins were used in its recording, and as for the gear, that turned out to be “a bit irrelevant.”
The recording process did result in is “the first real Blur album in 20 years”.
James Ford and Damon Albarn recently joined the Tape Notes podcast and shed light on the super-quick recording of The Ballad Of Darren, which took place at the start of this year. It saw the band working on up to four tracks a day from a selection of 30 demos they started the session with.
“At the beginning, it was quite intense,” says Ford via Music Radar, “because we were going through, like, three or four basic tracks a day just playing and jamming over them, intending to get a feel for it. Before we knew it, it was only a few weeks in and we were listening back to a rough version of the album. It was just like, let’s just keep moving as quick as we can.”