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 crucial pushed artists of the Britpop era, now unbothered by business success, is again with a second solo album that drifts along 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 career on an illuminated platform in front of the Pyramid stage, the empty area full of lights. It was a efficiency with a definite trace of top-dog gamesmanship about it: ignore the operating order – everybody is aware of who the headliners are right here. Afterwards, the cameras minimize to a mulleted Damon Albarn seated at a piano. He carried out a collection of serpentine unreleased songs, adorned with shivering, summary electronics and guitar and infrequently atonal string arrangements. He performed a music from Dr Dee, his 2011 opera concerning the 16th-century mathematician, astronomer and occultist. And when he finally dished up one thing from the Blur or Gorillaz catalogues that the casual 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 one of the crucial zealously driven artists of the Britpop period, he has spent the final 20 years doing one thing you'd anticipate extra main rock stars to do, but that hardly any truly seem to manage: using the area and time created by vast success so as to do precisely what they want, unbothered by business considerations. Doing exactly what he needs has typically occasioned more huge success – Gorillaz’s second album Demon Days bought 8m copies worldwide – but there have also 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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