Allen, an Afrobeat pioneer who worked for many years with Fela Kuti, was featured on several songs by Gorillaz, the group cofounded by Damon Albarn.
Allen is featured on “How Far?” and Albarn posted a tribute to him on Twitter. The video shows Allen drumming and is captioned with a quote from him saying “There is no end.”
There is no end – Tony Allen pic.twitter.com/a5fHxFgvYm
— Damon Albarn (@Damonalbarn) May 1, 2020
The new track was written and recorded with the British rapper Skepta in London just before the coronavirus lockdown began.
“How Far?” is also the latest in a series of collaborative releases called the “Song Machine” episodes from the band. The first installment was released on January 30 with English rapper slowthai and the American band Slaves. “Song Machine” episodes 2 and 3 came at the end of February and beginning of April, respectively. According to a press release, Gorillaz wanted to share “How Far?” immediately in honor of Allen.
Albarn and Allen also were both a part of the supergroup The Good, the Bad & the Queen, formed in 2006. Along with Paul Simonon from the The Clash and Simon Tong of The Verve, the group released its self-titled debut album in 2007 and a follow-up called “Merrie Land” in 2018.
Future “Song Machine” tracks featuring artists like Schoolboy Q, Sampa the Great and others have been teased by Albarn.
Watch the video for “How Far?” below.