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UKNY for December 5

Damon Albarn (photo by Steve Gullick, PR)

Damon Albarn (photo by Steve Gullick, PR)

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Damon Albarn first visited Iceland in the late nineties and fell head over heels with the island, its people, the dramatic sweep of the volcanic landscape and always temperamental weather. As Albarn's career grew beyond Blur to his many other projects, including Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad & the Queen, Africa Express, theatre and opera, and his first solo album, 2014's Everyday Robots —Iceland became a second home for Albarn away from England, a place to record, create, and relax. He owns a house near Reykjavîk, and was given Icelandic citizenship over the last year.

His second solo album, The Nearer the Fountan, More Pure the Stream Flows, is inspired by that Icelandic life, conceived as Albarn gazed out of his front window at Mount Esja and grappled with nature, grief, and mortality. Three workshops in late 2019 and 2020 were the foundation of what became the arc of the album, which was also affected by the loss of Albarn's friend, mentor, and bandmate, Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen.

On tonight's "UKNY" at 11 p.m. an "FUV Live" session with Albarn, who plays two songs from the album, "Particles" and "Polaris." We also chat about his process, his own melancholy tendencies, and the 19th century poet who inspired some of the lyrics. And Damon describes his perfect Icelandic day too.

In addition, the Isle of Wight is a hot spot of alt-rock cool thanks to Wet Leg and Lauran Hibberd; brand new songs from both tonight. Also, new Black Country, New Road, the return of Bloc Party, and Dutch musician La Loye, who has finaly released her debut EP, To Live Underwater.

British and international releases Sunday nights with "UKNY," from 11 p.m.-midnight on 90.7, streaming online, or available in the Weekend Archives after broadcast.

Songs played:

1. FUV Live session with Damon Albarn, featuring live versions of “Polaris” and “Particles”
2. Damon Albarn, “Daft Wader,” The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows
3. Damon Albarn, “Esja,” The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows
4. Bloc Party, “Traps,” Alpha Games
5. Wet Leg, “Too Late Now,” Wet Leg
6. Lauran Hibberd, “Charlie’s Car,” single
7. Adele, “Oh My God,” 30
8. Black Country, New Road, “Concorde (radio edit),” Ants From Up There
9. (The Hague, NL) la loye, “About Imagining Things,” To Live Underwater EP
10. Nubya Garcia, “Together is a Beautiful Place to Be (Nala Sinephro remix), Source ⧺ We Move