10 of the Most Wonderfully Versatile Contemporary Musicians

As you’ll no doubt have gathered from our Geoff Barrow interview earlier today, the Portishead producer has a new record out this week. After a decade of near-silence, Barrow’s suddenly become hugely prolific over the last five years or so, and he’s also proven pleasantly versatile. With another similarly multi-talented musical polymath also releasing a record this week — Damon Albarn, whose soundtrack album for opera Dr Dee dropped on Monday — we thought we’d have a look at some of our other favorite similarly versatile composers (not, we hasten to add, classical composers, an area in which we don’t pretend to have any sort of knowledge).

Damon Albarn

Blur. Gorillaz. Malian music. A quick jaunt to the Congo to make a record with local musicians. A stage musical based around the Chinese legend of the monkey spirit’s journey to India to bring sacred Buddhist scriptures back to the East. More Blur. A project with Flea and Tony Allen. And now an opera. Damon Albarn’s output over the last decade or so has been nothing if not eclectic, but crucially, it’s never felt willfully so — it’s more that Albarn’s musical tastes have expanded and diversified as he’s gotten older, just like the rest of us.