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The return of Michael Stipe

Michael Stipe has released his first new material since R.E.M split in 2011.

The 54-year-old singer has returned with an instrumental piece recorded to accompany bonus footage from his friend Tom Gilroy's film 'The Cold Lands'.

Michael Stipe

In an interview with salon.com, Michael admitted: “This is not what people want to hear from me. But that's want I want to offer, so...”

The star admits he did feel pressure when working on the project but insists he had no intention of singing.

He explained: “If there was a singer, it wouldn't have been me. I would have found someone. That's not just being ornery. It's just that I don't want to do it right now.”

Michael and Tom have been friends and collaborators for more than three decades, having worked on a wide range of film, music and political projects.

Michael said writing the material felt “like a great first project” after the band - also made up of Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry - went their separate ways.

He said: “I wouldn't call it a song. I'd call it a soundtrack or a musical piece. Yeah, of course it's a big deal, but so is my friendship with Tom and so is 'The Cold Lands'. It was something I wanted to do and I wanted to stretch and challenge myself a little bit. And I do love music.”

Asked if his latest project means he's working on more new music, he replied: “I don't know. Let's put a giant parenthesis around that,” adding, “I love music. I think it's an immensely moving form for me, but how do I apply that to where I am now?”

Michael is classing the project as his first new music since R.E.M. disbanded, though he teamed up with Hole singer Courtney Love on 'Rio Grande' last year. – Bang Showbiz

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