Damon Albarn: The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows review – beautifully haunting

General Info on Blur

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One of the driven artists of the Britpop era, now unbothered by business success, is again with a second solo album that drifts alongside in a melancholy, stoned mist

When Might’s Glastonbury livestream finally creaked into life, it provided viewers an fascinating research in contrasts. At 9pm, Coldplay appeared, rolling out the large hits from their 20-year profession on an illuminated platform in front of the Pyramid stage, the empty subject full of lights. It was a performance with a distinct hint of top-dog gamesmanship about it: ignore the operating order – everybody knows who the headliners are here. Afterwards, the cameras reduce to a mulleted Damon Albarn seated at a piano. He performed a collection of serpentine unreleased songs, adorned with shivering, abstract electronics and guitar and infrequently atonal string preparations. He performed a music from Dr Dee, his 2011 opera concerning the 16th-century mathematician, astronomer and occultist. And when he finally dished up something from the Blur or Gorillaz catalogues that the informal observer may know, it was rearranged in a method that made it sound darker and sadder.

It was a neat illustration of Albarn’s modern strategy to music-making. By all accounts probably the most zealously pushed artists of the Britpop era, he has spent the final 20 years doing one thing you'd anticipate more main rock stars to do, but that hardly any truly appear to handle: utilizing the area and time created by huge success so as to do exactly what they want, unbothered by business considerations. Doing precisely what he needs has typically occasioned extra vast success – Gorillaz’s second album Demon Days bought 8m copies worldwide – however there have additionally been musicals with lyrics in Cantonese, collaborative tasks influenced by Sun Ra, Funkadelic and Fela Kuti, and soundtracks for immersive theatre works carried out by the Kronos Quartet, none of which look like have been made with an eye fixed on the charts or prime billing at festivals.

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