Legendary late Afrobeat drummer, Tony Allen, will be releasing a posthumous album on April 30, the one-year anniversary of his death. There Is No End is set to feature appearances from Sampa The Great, Danny Brown, Lava La Rue, Tsunami and more, and will be released via Blue Note Records. Along with the album announcement, Allen’s estate has shared the first single, “13 Cosmosis” featuring Skepta and poet Ben Okri.
“13 Cosmosis” features infectious drums and Okri’s deep vocals speaking over Allen’s captivating instrumentals influenced by the astral realm. Skepta’s brief rap picks up the case, Okri returning to declare “The present moment began with fire/And still it burns.” The trio sit on the brink of reality throughout the track, searching for something deeper.
The trio began the track while Allen and Skepta had been working with Damon Albarn for the Gorillaz collaboration “How Far?” Okri joined in on the track afterward, his lyrics acting as a tribute to the late drummer. “How do you absorb a cosmos or integrate a cosmos, enrich a world, infiltrate in the highest possible way and change the mentalverse, the spirtverse; it’s by cosmosis,” Okri says in the track.
“This man could have lived another 150 years and kept creating new worlds,” Okri said of Allen, according to a press release. “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.”
The album was produced by Allen, Vincent Taeger and Vincent Taurelle, with Allen writing and producing his parts in 2019. According to a press statement, Taegar described how Allen “was a teacher without speaking… a drummer and a guardian, with a great artistic vision and that vision filled the songs even after he had left us.”
Allen passed last year due to a heart attack at the age of 79. He had begun drumming at 18 years old, learning how to play by listening to American jazz drummers Art Blakely and Max Roach. He was considered a pioneer of the Afrobeat genre, mixing his style with a variety of West African music and American funk and jazz. In 1964, he met Fela Kuti, the two recording 20 albums together.
There Is No End tracklist
1. “Tony’s Praeludium”
2. “Stumbling Down” (feat. Sama 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 Jae)
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”