Damon Albarn has continued to tease his forthcoming solo album with his beautiful new track, ‘Polaris’.
His second solo album, The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows, arrives on November 12th through Transgressive Records. Albarn originally intended the project to be an orchestral piece inspired by the landscapes of Iceland. However, during lockdown last year, with time aplenty on his hands, the Gorillaz mastermind transformed the instrumentation into eleven tracks.
“[Iceland] is a nice place to meditate on the elements and particles,” Albarn previously explained to NME about the album. “I’d been dreaming on making music while looking out of that window, when my friend from the Lyon Festival offered me the very tempting proposition of ‘You can do whatever you want’. I had immediately had something that I never thought would be feasible, so I organised musicians, string players, three bass trombones, some percussion and keyboards into an interesting arrangement.”
He added: “I took some of these realtime, extreme elemental experiences and then tried to develop more formal pop songs with that as my source. I wanted to see where that would take me. Sometimes it took me down to Uruguay and Montevideo. Other times I went to Iran, Iceland or Devon. With travel being curtailed, it was kind of nice to be able to make a record that put me strangely in those places for a moment or two.”
‘Polaris’ is an atmospheric joy and sees Albarn intersect the optimistic vigour that oozes out of these beautiful locations. It’s a peaceful track that carries a sense of nostalgia and has a mature sound than Gorillaz or Blur.
Albarn’s solo career is a vessel that is allowing the singer-songwriter to make tracks that he couldn’t create with his other bands, and the calming effort is an appetising taste of what’s to come on The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows.