Gorillaz (formed 1998)
Gorillaz is a music & animation project, created by Damon Albarn of the band Blur and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, the creator of Tank Girl. In addition to the music itself, Gorillaz also consists of a 'virtual' band of 2-D members, named 2D (vocalist and keyboardist), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar and vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion).
Musically, Albarn is the primary contributor, with a rotating cast of musicians feeding in to the music.
Creation: The Gorillaz project was created in 1998 when Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett shared a flat in Westbourne Grove, London. The first song that they wrote together was 'Ghost Train', which was eventually released as the B-side to 'Rock the House'. The original trio of musicians consisted of Albarn, Dan the Automator and Del the Funkee Homosapien. Albarn and Dan the Automator had previously worked together on Deltron 3030's debut album.
Career: The debut release from Gorillaz was their Tomorrow Comes Today EP, released in 2000. This was followed by the single 'Clint Eastwood', released the following year. In March 2001, Gorillaz's debut, self-titled album was released. The band also created a half-hour mockumentary, entitled Charts of Darkness, which featured Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
Later in 2001, Gorillaz's collaboration with D12 (minus Eminem) and Terry Hall was released. '911' was a track about the September 11th attacks.
At the 2002 BRIT awards, Gorillaz performed via 3D animation, accompanied by Phi Life Cypher. Despite being nominated for six awards, they finished the evening empty-handed.
Laika Come Home, a dub remix album courtesy of Spacemonkeyz, was released in 2002. Later that year, Gorillaz released a DVD entitled Phase One: Celebrity Take Down. It contained the Charts of Darkness mockumentary, as well as the band's promotional videos.
2004 saw Gorillaz release a video entitled 'Rock It', as well as announcing the release of a new album, to be produced by Danger Mouse. The lead single from the album was 'Feel Good Inc.' and the album, Demon Days, was released in May 2005. The album reached number one in the UK and although it began to drop down the charts, the release of the next single, 'DARE', featuring Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays. The third single was 'Dirty Harry' and the last single from Demon Days was 'Kids with Guns' / 'El Manana'.
A planned tour in which 3D holograms of the band would be employed was eventually called off due to the expense. In October 2006, a DVD entitled Phase Two: Slowboat to Hades. A few months later, Gorillaz' illustrated autobiography was released, entitled Rise of the Ogre. Another documentary film about Gorillaz - Bananaz - was released on the Babelgum website in April 2009.
Plastic Beach was the title for Gorillaz's next studio album, which hit the shops in March 2010.The album featured a number of guest performers, including Snoop Dogg, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash, De La Soul, Lou Reed, Mark E. Smith and Bobby Womack.
Blur frontman Damon Albarn set to unveil folk-soul 'empty club music' solo album.
Damon Albarn is finally set to go solo as he unveils his long-anticipated debut album Everyday Robots on April 28th 2014.
Blur is still an ongoing project
The Blur frontman is definitely a workaholic of the music industry, with his solo project being unleashed while his newly reunited Britpop band and his virtual band with Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz, are still ongoing. Little has been revealed about the album as of yet, though in 2011 he told Q magazine that it would a record of 'empty club music' and last year he revealed in an interview to Rolling Stone that it would be 'sort of folk soul'.
Continue reading: Damon Albarn Finally Going Solo With Upcoming Debut 'Everyday Robots'
Hiphop artist Mos Def, AKA Yasiin Bey, has undergone force feeding in order to campaign against the treatment of hunger strikers in USA's Guantánamo Bay detention camp.
Some celebrities lend their name to campaigns and will occasionally 'retweet' a good cause but singer Mos Def, more recently known as Yasiin Bey, has taken political rallying to the extreme by volunteering to undergo the same force feeding procedure that is used in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. In a video released by the human-rights organisation, Reprieve, Bey is shown with his limbs and head tightly restrained in a chair whilst medics force a tube through the rapper's nose and towards his stomach. Directed by the BAFTA-winning Asif Kapadia, the video makes for hardcore viewing and is certainly not for the faint-hearted as Bey is seen writhing and struggling against his restraints and crying out as the uncomfortable process is carried out.
Rapper Mos Def Has Been Force Fed In Solidarity With Hunger-Striking Prisoners.
According to Sky News, when the strategy is used in the military prison it can last up to 30 minutes but Yasiin can be heard pleading with the doctors "stop, please stop" in the four minute video.Speaking after the ordeal, the 39 year-old Gorillaz collaborator and campaigner described his experience: "The first part of it is not that bad, but then you get this burning and it starts to be really unbearable, like something is going into my brain and it reaches the back of my throat. I really couldn't take it."
Continue reading: Mos Def Is Force Fed In Solidarity With Guantánamo Detainees [Video]
Hard to believe that ten years have passed really, makes you question where that time went. When you think about it, Gorillaz have experienced great success for what is more a project in music than a conventional band.
Continue reading: Gorillaz, The Singles Collection 2001 - 2011 Album Review
It would be hyperbolic to describe The Fall as Damon Albarn's Kid A moment. Albarn's work tends to inspire grudging respect rather than rapt, quasi-religious devotion. Gorillaz, for all their commercial success, lack the critical and cultural cachet Radiohead wielded at their
Continue reading: Gorillaz, The Fall Album review
Who would have thought that four animated figures could sell over 20 million records worldwide? The musical project created, by Blur's Damon Albarn, has been storming the commercial music scene for over 12 years now and it really feels like it hasn't run out of steam just yet. Featuring British singer Daley, Doncamatic, is the fifth single from their Top 5 album Plastic Beach. The result is a bouncy and lighter offering from this band.
Continue reading: Gorillaz, Doncamatic Single Review
I'm not saying the world is about to end (maybe it is) but there's something a tad apocalyptic about new Gorillaz single Stylo. With its Terminator 2 Judgement Day leanings, it springs to life with a dirty electro beat that signals a more than welcome return for hip hops most illustrated.
Mos Defs muffled lyrics are charming enough, especially when followed by Damon Albarns bittersweet serenading, but it's not until the great Bobby Womack swoops in to steal both artists thunder in one howling move that we get to see the tracks true intentions.
Huge slabs of Pet Shop Boys electro coupled with 70s funk shouldn't really gel at all, and to some extent they don't, but there remains a charm to this disjointed array of sounds that makes it a fascinating listen all the same. Daman Albarns claims that forthcoming album Plastic Beach is the most popish thing he's ever written are not exactly proven right by this effort, but what is proven is his ability to pull off just about anything he tries his hand at.
Continue reading: Gorillaz, Stylo Single Review
In the ensuing 5 years since their last triumphant release, 'Demon Days', the world's biggest virtual band have been busying themselves building their very own Tracy Island. No doubt watching various re-runs of John, Janet, Valerie, Connie & Shep has helped them with their creation. Made out of rubbish and debris, and located at Point Nemo in the South Pacific, the furthest distance from land, 'Plastic Beach' has served as the studio where its namesake album has been magnificently recorded.
Whilst they were atop the land fill scavenging, the masterful creator was indulging his ever broader spectrum of creativity. Lovingly and painstakingly crafting his celebrated Opera, 'Monkey: Journey To The West'. Putting together another band, in the form of The Good The Bad And The Queen to present his London based concept album and ....., in no small measure, successfully reuniting his old band Blur to a tumultuous reception. His appetite and artistic endeavour still not satisfied the musician, helped some say less than eagerly by his animator and co-creator Jamie ('I'm so f**king bored of drawing those characters') Hewitt, turned once again to the virtual world to help feed his insatiable desire.
Continue reading: Gorillaz, Plastic Beach Album Review
El Manana/ Kids With Guns
Continue reading: Gorillaz, El Manana/ Kids With Guns, Single Review
Gorillaz - Demon Days Live
Manchester Opera House 04/11/05
Continue reading: Gorillaz, Demon Days Live at the Manchester Opera House 04/11/05