Damon Albarn went live on the Boiler Room YouTube page on Sunday afternoon as part of the venue’s Streaming from Isolation video series, where the Blur and Gorillaz mastermind performed music from his latest project, The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows.
Inspired by the landscapes of Iceland, where Albarn has spent much of his time over the past 30 years, the name of the composition comes from a John Clare poem titled “Love and Memory”. The May 17th livestream marked the first performance of the project and came on the same day Albarn was set to kick off a sold-out European tour with conductor André de Ridder and a group of 14 musicians and four singers.
Before starting into his selections from the overall composition, the musician noted, “It’s not finished. I’m going to be playing to rehearsal tapes that we put together. But, it gives you an idea of what, hopefully, one day, we will perform for you.”
From there Albarn pressed play on the rehearsal tape and, sitting in front of a piano with an acoustic guitar in hand, began the first track. String instruments like cello and viola dominated the soundscape while Albarn’s acoustic plucking and vocals seemed to accompany the piece as opposed to being the focal point. Low-end strings and horns carried the song into an eerie segment, which built tension and brought about a dark peak that released into a more cheerful piano melody that began the next song. The third track, much like the first, was dark and full of tension, however, Albarn’s vocal and piano work seemed to ease the pressure created by the cellos and bass.
While this project is very different from what fans of the Gorillaz have come to know and love, it’s something that any music-lover can appreciate. Check out Albarn’s entire performance on Streaming from Isolation below.
Damon Albarn – Boiler Room: Streaming From Isolation
[Video: Boiler Room]
Though the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has kept Albarn from taking his new project on the road in 2020, he has promised the announcement of 2021 dates soon. Albarn has also kept busy with his Gorillaz Song Machine project, which sees his virtual band collaborate with a variety of artists on new music. Head here for the latest information regarding 2021 tour dates for The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows.
Damon Albarn – The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows – Credits
André de Ridder : Violin, Music Director and Conductor
Alexina Hawkins : Viola
Shelley Soerensen : Viola
Joséphine Stephenson : Cello, Voice
Caimin Gilmore : Double Bass
Laura Nygren : Double Bass
Rakel Björt Helgadóttir : Horn
Bergrún Snaebjörnsdóttir : Horn
Romain Bly : Horn, Percussions
Sigrún Jónsdóttir : Trombone
Sigrún Kristbjörg Jónsdóttir : Trombone
Carol Jarvis : Bass trombone
Simon Tong : Guitar
Visual Creative Director Nathan Prince
Iceland Footage by Snorri Bros and Matt Cronin.
Artwork by Einar Örn Benediktsson.
Edited by Matt Cronin and Nathan Prince
Performance Filmed by Missy Albarn
Recorded by Samuel Egglenton
Special Thanks to George Ruthledge , Ishah Joseph and Stephen Sedgwick at Studio 13.
Marc Cardonnel, Fanny Deroff at Rain dog productions and Bryn Ormrod.
Niamh Byrne, Regine Moylett, Tanyel Vahdettin and Gaby Power at Eleven Mgmt.
Damon Albarn is managed by Eleven Mgmt.
The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows’ – 2021 European Tour dates announced soon – www.raindogprod.com