Gord Downie recently announced the posthumous double album Away Is Mine.Steered to life by “my oldest Toronto friend,” guitarist and co-writer Josh Finlayson, Downie recorded the album in July 2017 at The Tragically Hip’s studio in Bath, Ontario, mere months before he passed on October 17th that year. His final solo recording, the two-disc set features Downie’s last ten songs, each presented in electric and acoustic versions.
“This won’t be his last release, but these are the final ten songs Gord sang before he passed away. The last time he ever sang into a mic,” brother Patrick Downie wrote in a statement upon the album’s announcement. The 20-track collection highlights Gord’s poetic mastery at its most bare and personal, with vibrant yet haunting production that casts each song in different, otherworldly light. Away Is Mine will be released October 16, 2020 in deluxe limited edition 2LP, 2CD, and digital formats via Arts & Crafts.
“About Blank” embodies – in its most obvious and opulent measures – the spectral sound of Away Is Mine, no doubt owing to the uncanny context of its creation, but because it is so expertly intuited, and projected skyward, by producer Nyles Spencer. The song morphs from a plaintive bluegrass picker into a bizarrely upbeat electro-hoedown in under two-and-a-half minutes, with buzzy synthesizers mingling amidst fiddle trills and country twang before diving into ambient ether. On the loosely coined “acoustic” version, the song’s folksy roots are exposed, but soon belied by Gord’s voice in odd chorus with a pitch-shifted apparition, delighting in the auspicious refrain “Come be surrounded / By those who love you the most.”