Saturday, September 11, 2010
This band has been the soundtrack of my life lately. The brainchild of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlitt, Gorillaz is, as far as I know, the first virtual band. It's a group of animated characters voiced by Albarn et al, namely Russell, Murdoc, 2D, and Noodle (below, l-r).
Albarn, former lead singer for Blur, has spoken often of the ridiculousness of celebrity culture, and in creating Gorillaz his intent was to subvert the cult status and near-worship of people who make music. By having artist Hewlitt create characters to be the 'celebrities,' Albarn cleverly sidestepped the fandom he surely dealt with when Blur exploded in the late 90s. Gorillaz has featured musicians as diverse as Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads), Mos Def, Snoop Dog and many more, all afforded the relative anonymity of playing behind cartoon characters.
But a side-effect (or perhaps the intent) of the invention of these characters is that it opened up a world of possibilities.
Here's an older song, '19-2000,' which has been on my workout mix for months now. (The Soulchild remix is a better version, but this was the best video available.)
But now check out this video ('Stylo,' from the new Gorillaz record 'Plastic Beach,' featuring Mos Def and Bobby Womack). This is an example of what the forward-thinking Hewlitt and Albarn are capable of, and how the future might look, in terms of blending live-action with animation.
Plus Bruce Willis is in it.