Damon Albarn has been busy lately playing with Blur and collaborating with James Murphy and Andre 3000, but not so busy that he didn't have time to make a new solo record, Dr Dee. The record, which comes out May 8, is a big departure from his other projects; Albarn describes it as "strange pastoral folk" album inspired by the life of 16th century mathematician, alchemist, and philosopher John Dee, who was a trusted advisor of Elizabeth I. Albarn recorded Dr Dee late last year with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and mixes his own vocals with ancient English choral music and instrumentation. Dr Dee also has a special stage production that debuted last year at the Manchester International Festival which returns in July to the English National Opera as part of the summer's Cultural Olympiad.