Damon Albarn is best known as the singer of both Blur and Gorillaz. On July 6th, Albarn released his newest solo song, “Polaris,” of his forthcoming new album The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows, along with a live performance video. The album itself was set to be an orchestral piece “inspired by the landscapes of Iceland,” but during the lockdown in 2020, Albarn worked on the 11 tracks resulting in his newest album.
Even though the song is the second release from the album, the video is the first part of Albarn’s film series Sublime Boulevards – Performance Films, a series of live performances directed by Transgressive Records founder Toby L. Black and white video shows an intimate setting of Albarn on the keyboard and the rest of the band just highlighted with a few lights on the stage. The cuts to the different musicians and the string orchestra emphasize a certain live experience throughout the video, like concert live streams during the pandemic. The song itself is meant for people during a time they might have felt lost and in need of a guiding star. With strong vocals, but mainly because of the composition of the band/orchestra, the song feels emotional yet hopeful.
Albarn has been very active in the music scene throughout the pandemic. He was part of the Glastonbury Live Stream festival on May 22nd, which also featured artists like HAIM, Idles and Coldplay. He was also featured on Paul McCartney’s album McCartney III Imagined, where he covered or reimagined “Long Tailed Winter Bird.” Albarn’s band and indie giants, Gorrilaz, released their newest album Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez, last year in October. The album featured artists like Beck and The Cure’s Robert Smith. The band currently works on a carnival-themed album. Given the cover art of their latest album, it’s possible this will be a Song Machine Season two. But Gorillaz isn’t the only band of Albarn that is making headlines; just last month, Albarn talked about the “idea” of a Blur reunion.
The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows is set to be released on November 12th via Transgressive Records. It will be Albarn’s second solo album after 2014’s Everyday Robots.
The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows Tracklist:
1. The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows
2. The Cormorant
3. Royal Morning Blue
5. Daft Wader
6. Darkness To Light
8. The Tower Of Montevideo
9. Giraffe Trumpet Sea
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat