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Amplifier frontman announces ocean-inspired debut solo album

Sel Balamir June 2021 portrait against a sky
(Image credit: Sel Balamir)

Amplifier’s Sel Balamir has announced the release of his solo debut, Swell. It’s due out on September 6 via his own label Rockosmos.

Although the Manchester-based musician can usually be found singing about UFOs, astronauts and interstellar musings, he’s decided to focus on more earthly matters for his first solo album: the ocean. 

“Wherever I’ve lived,” he reflects, “I think I’ve always been thinking, I’m just passing through here. Now I have settled just 30 metres from the sea, I know this is home.

“Every part of the ocean is different every day,” he adds. “There’s a strange magnetism about it. There’s nothing crowding your thoughts. It provides opportunity for you to look into the horizon, a huge expanse of space for you to develop your ideas...”

The three-part work contains echos of Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis. In addition to the 20-minute title-track, the album also includes Jacques Cousteau, inspired by the legendary French filmmaker, researcher and marine explorer; and Seagull, a paean to the freedoms of his frequent airborne escorts.

“All the chord progressions came from an acoustic guitar, then I fleshed them out on electrics," says Balamir. "There are a lot of keyboards in there, too... a departure for me. I think it’s more mood music than Amplifier – that demands that you pay attention to it as an observer. Swell is more like the ocean in that you are a passenger...”

Sel Balamir's Swell

(Image credit: Press)

In between working on his solo material, Balamir has been digging through Amplifier's archives and recently released the previously unheard Red Feather via Bandcamp. But the track isn't quite as new as you might expect!

"This was a random track that we had started working on in 2018 and completely forgot about until I fortuitously came across it on a forgotten hard drive – so I finished it off and had a great new tune while Amplifier is still basically on lockdown," he reveals.

The band are due to continue work on their seventh studio album, which will be the follow-up to 2017's Trippin' With Dr Faustus.

Scroll over the birdcage below to listen to Red Feather!