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Damon Albarn|The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows

The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows

Damon Albarn

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A quarter century after the gobby war of words that fueled that Oasis-vs-Blur battle of Britpop, it's a hoot to imagine what the Gallagher brothers would make of the latest solo endeavor from the man Liam Gallagher once called "Dermot Oblong." While the Gallaghers have continued to make and remake Beatles and Kinks-inspired pop, Albarn has experimented with electronica, hip-hop, afrobeat and the wonderful chaos that is Gorillaz. For his latest, he turned to the dramatic landscapes of Iceland for inspiration. Call it uneasy listening. While the music is often gorgeous and even relaxing, the lyrics sometimes bear a heavy existential load. “I have been on my own dark journey while making this record and it led me to believe that a pure source might still exist," Albarn has said. As "The Cormorant"—named for a bird whose droppings can mortally harm the trees where they nest—freeform floats on abstract jazz tinklings, Albarn ponders: "Am I imprisoned on this island?/ I have tried to swim away ... But the current is too strong." "Polaris," one of the poppier songs on the record, ends with a sax solo and Albarn sounding an awful lot like Bowie as he sings over it: "The infinite pages we scroll out upon the garden/ In the shadow of the oak/ I miss the alarm in the music they're in." Vocally, he mostly plays it cool, staying calm amidst the vibrating noise and horn skronk of the upbeat "Royal Morning Blue" (which was inspired by watching rain turn into snow as he looked out at the Icelandic skies from his piano). Instrumental "Esja" seems to conjure up the brutal winds, its high-drama strings packing all the tension of a thriller movie. "Combustion," a riot of horn blares and insistent keys, pleasantly plods on a rhythm like an elephant walk. One of the few songs not influenced by the natural elements of Iceland, "The Tower of Montevideo" (as in that city's Palacio Salvo, an iconic 1920s structure), flirts with South American rhythms, sultry saxophone and longing nostalgia: "Once there was cinema and we had parties/ And the light at the top of the tower could reach Argentina." Meanwhile, ballad "Darkness to Light," which isn't such a left turn from later-era Blur, finds Albarn in full on lover-man mode, crooning falsetto and all. The album ends—on "Particles," with the singer's voice romantically wavering along a wash of synth —the way it begins, with the sound of bubbling, flowing water, like you’re at the coolest geothermal spa around. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows

Damon Albarn

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1
The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows
00:05:00

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - S. Tong, Composer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer - A. De Ridder, Composer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

2
The Cormorant
00:04:21

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - S. Tong, Composer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

3
Royal Morning Blue
00:03:11

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - S. Tong, Composer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

4
Combustion
00:02:52

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - S. Tong, Composer - M. Smith, Composer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

5
Daft Wader
00:03:28

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - S. Tong, Composer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

6
Darkness To Light
00:02:59

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - S. Tong, Composer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

7
Esja
00:03:40

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - S. Tong, Composer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer - A. De Ridder, Composer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

8
The Tower Of Montevideo
00:04:19

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - M.Smith, Composer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer - S.Tong, Composer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

9
Giraffe Trumpet Sea
00:01:51

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

10
Polaris
00:04:44

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - S. Tong, Composer - M. Smith, Composer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

11
Particles
00:03:20

D. Albarn, Composer, Producer - Damon Albarn, MainArtist - Stephen Sedgwick, MixingEngineer - Samuel Egglenton, Producer

2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd 2021 13 under exclusive license to Transgressive Records Ltd

Album Description

A quarter century after the gobby war of words that fueled that Oasis-vs-Blur battle of Britpop, it's a hoot to imagine what the Gallagher brothers would make of the latest solo endeavor from the man Liam Gallagher once called "Dermot Oblong." While the Gallaghers have continued to make and remake Beatles and Kinks-inspired pop, Albarn has experimented with electronica, hip-hop, afrobeat and the wonderful chaos that is Gorillaz. For his latest, he turned to the dramatic landscapes of Iceland for inspiration. Call it uneasy listening. While the music is often gorgeous and even relaxing, the lyrics sometimes bear a heavy existential load. “I have been on my own dark journey while making this record and it led me to believe that a pure source might still exist," Albarn has said. As "The Cormorant"—named for a bird whose droppings can mortally harm the trees where they nest—freeform floats on abstract jazz tinklings, Albarn ponders: "Am I imprisoned on this island?/ I have tried to swim away ... But the current is too strong." "Polaris," one of the poppier songs on the record, ends with a sax solo and Albarn sounding an awful lot like Bowie as he sings over it: "The infinite pages we scroll out upon the garden/ In the shadow of the oak/ I miss the alarm in the music they're in." Vocally, he mostly plays it cool, staying calm amidst the vibrating noise and horn skronk of the upbeat "Royal Morning Blue" (which was inspired by watching rain turn into snow as he looked out at the Icelandic skies from his piano). Instrumental "Esja" seems to conjure up the brutal winds, its high-drama strings packing all the tension of a thriller movie. "Combustion," a riot of horn blares and insistent keys, pleasantly plods on a rhythm like an elephant walk. One of the few songs not influenced by the natural elements of Iceland, "The Tower of Montevideo" (as in that city's Palacio Salvo, an iconic 1920s structure), flirts with South American rhythms, sultry saxophone and longing nostalgia: "Once there was cinema and we had parties/ And the light at the top of the tower could reach Argentina." Meanwhile, ballad "Darkness to Light," which isn't such a left turn from later-era Blur, finds Albarn in full on lover-man mode, crooning falsetto and all. The album ends—on "Particles," with the singer's voice romantically wavering along a wash of synth —the way it begins, with the sound of bubbling, flowing water, like you’re at the coolest geothermal spa around. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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