Album: The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows (2021)
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  • This slow, tender song originated in a chance conversation between Damon Albarn and a female rabbi from Winnipeg on a flight to Reykjavik. Albarn told The Sun that during their "intense metaphysical" talk, the old lady told him she was "trying to escape from certain particles but she couldn't. If they were meant for you, they'd find you."

    Albarn thought about this idea in the light of COVID before reflecting on the aurora borealis (Northern Lights), a familiar sight in Iceland. "The aurora is a beautiful spectacle, a direct result of particles sent on solar winds from the sun," he said. "They die when they hit the Earth's protective skin but, in their death, they cause a chemical reaction that gives us a magical light show."
  • For the particles are joyous
    As they alight on your skin

    Everything in the universe (except energy) is made up of particles. These tiny bits of matter vary in size or quantity, from macroscopic particles like powder and dust, to microscopic particles like atoms and molecules, and subatomic particles like the proton, neutron and electron. Some particles, such as those in liquids and gases, move randomly. Albarn smiled to The Sun at the thought of "particles constantly moving chaotically. When chaos happens, it's joyous!"
  • Albarn recorded the song as the closing track of his The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows album. The Blur and Gorillaz frontman started the record in 2019 as an orchestral project inspired by the rugged beauty of Iceland, where the singer keeps a house. Denied the chance to record with a full orchestra when the pandemic kicked in, Albarn developed the work into 11 tracks, which "further explore themes of fragility, loss, emergence and rebirth."
  • Other songs on our database inspired by particle physics include:

    "Particle Man" by They Might Be Giants
    "Munich" by The Fray.
    "Higgs Boson Blues" by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.
    "Supercollider" by Radiohead.
    "Super Collider" by Megadeth.
  • After his conversation with the lady on the plane about escaping the particles, Albarn meditated on the idea. "If change is necessary and sometimes devastating, we have to try and pull back and wait for beauty to follow," he told Uncut magazine. "We're all in fear of particles. We're all wearing masks to avoid them. But they are joyous nonetheless. Anything where change happens is necessary and part of what the universe is all about, those kind of extremes."
  • Damon Albarn references the album title in the second verse.

    The nearer the fountain
    More pure the stream flows
    And sweeter the river
    Into which love grows

    The lyric comes from the elegiac poem "Love And Memory" by John Clare. A meditation on grief and renewal, it is one of the English 19th century poet's best-loved works.

Comments: 1

  • Lorrie Vaughton from FranceApart from the wistfulness of this lovely song, I`m more intrigued by the conversation that must have occured between Damon and his travelling companion. How lucky for them both. Its great sometimes to relax with a complete stranger and swop stories. I`m sure she was immensley entertaining and he of course would probably have been modestly keeping his fame under wraps ...It was typical of him to give credit to her for the concept of `Particles` and I`m sorry he wasn`t able to send her a copy of something she`d helped to create. Did she ever get to know she`d spent time with this Mega Star I wonder? But then, being the person he was obviously drawn to, it wouldn`t have mattered...
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