Blue Note Records has announced a new posthumous album from late Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen, There Is No End. The album is set to arrive April 30th, which also marks the one-year anniversary of Allen’s death.
The record announcement comes with the first single, “Cosmosis,” which was co-produced by Allen, Damon Albarn, and Remi Kabaka. The song came out of Allen’s sessions with Albarn and Skepta (who also features on the track) as they finished tracking their collaboration, “How Far?” which appeared on Gorillaz’s 2020 project, Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez.
“Cosmosis” also features Nigerian poet Ben Okri, who added his lyrics later as a tribute to Allen. Over the song’s punchy yet hypnotic beat, Okri muses, “Let’s talk about the signs of how things break/How the heart breaks/How the age flounders, shatters with no one listening/How the mind quakes/How we lose all that matters/Oh, the music of the bones/The music of sage and wise stones/Let’s talk about the art of how things break.”
In a statement, Okri said of Allen: “This man could have lived another 150 years and kept creating new worlds. He had become the master shaman of his art. He knew himself and his mind. He wanted the album to be open to the energies of a new generation… but like a great mathematician or scientist who found a code for a new world, with just a few beats, he created this extraordinary canvas.”
Allen began working on There Is No End in 2019, writing and producing the album’s beats with drummer Vincent Taeger, a friend and mentee. Taeger completed the album with the help of co-producer Vincent Taurelle. There Is No End features a global cast of collaborators including Danny Brown, Sampa the Great, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon, Lava La Rue, Nate Bone, Tsunami, Nah Eeto, and more.
Prior to his death, Allen spoke about his desire to work with younger artists, saying, “I want to take care of youngsters; they have messages and I want to bring them on my beat. The idea is to transmit to the young generation, to mix different universes — the hip hop world to the Afrobeat world.”
There Is No End Tracklist
1. “Tony’s Praeludium”
2. “Stumbling Down” (feat. Sampa The Great)
3. “Crushed Grapes” (feat. Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon)
4. “Très Magnifique” (feat. Tsunami)
5. “Mau Mau” (feat. Nah Eeto)
6. “Coonta Kinte” (feat. Zelooperz)
7. “Rich Black” (feat. Koreatown Oddity)
8. “One Inna Million” (feat. Lava La Rue)
9. “Gang On Holiday (Em I Go We?)” (feat. Jeremiah
10. “Deer In Headlights” (feat. Danny Brown)
11. “Hurt Your Soul” (feat. Nate Bone)
12. “My Own” (feat. Marlowe)
13. “Cosmosis” (feat. Ben Okri & Skepta)
14. “There’s No End”