Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Friday, 2 January 2009

Prince plans three albums in 2009

Prince won rave reviews last year after playing the Coachella festival

Rock star Prince says he wants to release three albums in 2009 - without the help of a record label.

The musician told the LA Times he was in "final negotiations" with a major US retailer to distribute the music, which will also be made available online.

Four guitar-heavy new songs were premiered on Los Angeles radio station Indie 103 shortly before Christmas.

They included a cover of Tommy James and The Shondells' Crimson and Clover and a blues jam called Colonized Mind.

These tracks will form part of an album called Lotus Flower, according to LA Times journalist Ann Powers, who was summoned to Prince's mansion to hear the new material.

"Needless to say, it was an amazing experience," she wrote on the newspaper's website.

Sade influence

Powers said Prince's second album marked a return to the electronic sound of When Doves Cry.

Called MPLSOUND - a reference to the star's hometown of Minneapolis - it includes a duet with A Tribe Called Quest rapper Q-Tip and Prince experimenting with "new ways of recording".

The 50-year-old said his third record of 2009, a seductive collection with vocals by new protege Bria Valente, was recorded because "we got sick of waiting for Sade to make a new album".

However, fans know that Prince's ambitious plans often get discarded or forgotten about as his attention wanders.

The prolific musician's career is littered with unfinished, abandoned and radically altered records - most famously 1987's Black Album, which was withdrawn just weeks before its release.

Sign O' The Times, considered by many to be Prince's career highpoint, was itself a compilation of tracks intended for three separate projects - Dream Factory, Crystal Ball and Camille.

His last album, Planet Earth, was given away free in the UK with The Mail On Sunday newspaper in 2007.

Some of the new recordings have been previewed on a characteristically mysterious website called mplsound.

He told Powers he was pressing ahead without the support of a record label because "the gatekeepers have to change".

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