Written By: Christine Reynolds
They’ve arisen then, from the deep below, although, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to Gorillaz fans who knew that Damon was working on the We Are Still Humanz project since 2014. It’s been a long time coming, but The Gorillaz: 6 years after their ‘The Fall’ album (2011) have released 4 new videos that subsequently give back all that was lost to their fans. The Gorillaz have released 4 studio albums – with ‘Gorillaz’ being a debut-astic treat, and the resulting epitome of the correct experimental compositions used.
The artwork has changed drastically since 2011, with the ‘Humanz’ album having more precision, detail/ focus on the band members features; in – depth texture and hands – on interaction (Saturn Barz), and the overall touch being almost humane.
The album is due for release on April 28th and has been slowly leaked throughout 2016 and early 2017. The signs and wonders were all there; no bulls****, just odd things cropping up like Noodle getting her own Instagram page and being named the global ambassador of Jaguar (October 2016). The release of ‘Hallelujah Money’ (feat Benjamin Clementine) back in January 2017. Go back a little bit further and The Gorillaz announced that they would be having their own festival named ‘Demon Dayz Festival -’ and in April 2016 James Hewlett uploaded 2 video clips onto Instagram detailing his work on the upcoming album. Oh, and talks of their future singles like ‘Saturn Barz’ had been mentioned in past interviews. Damon and James kept the momentum running.
‘Saturn Barz (Spiritual House)’ has barz from the get -go, but what sets its mark is the 360-interactive version. The feel of the video is more than just a passenger. It’s like you’re there as monsters appear; like you’re rotating with Saturn; connecting with Popcaan’s vocals & personality that fill the vid/single, and embracing the strange world just like the Gorillaz do. ‘Saturn Barz’ connects you, however distantly, with the virtual world of the Gorillaz.
‘Andromeda,’ Featuring D.R.AM has the synthesizer in a high altitude as the focus of Saturn swirling around illuminates into various colors until the end. Almost like an ever – changing disco ball up in space. There is not much happening in the ‘Andromeda’ audio video but the single is electronically poised, and the comet hitting Saturn at around 2:17 lifts the track into a higher level of sound, color and instrumental.
‘Ascension,’ is like ascending into the apocalypse with Vince Staples (feat on the single) lyrically rapping about ‘the skies falling’ with a trip – hop vibe that transcends into the synth – pad and brit – pop elements. The audio video is a sideways conveyor belt that is intrinsically linked to the voice changes and sound changes that happen.
‘We Got The Power’ is not the Gorillaz I remember and feels like a 70’s music production gone far beyond their experimental phase. I respect that, especially with the audio video being nothing more than unmovable traffic.
I truly hope that the ‘Humanz’ album doesn’t get boxed into a nice little category as ‘The Gorillaz’ have always been a virtual joy who never fitted in with the mould. The taster they submitted is sweet, and you can sense that the hunger to mix genres has not been lost on James and Damon. It will be a crazy feat, with artist collabs that add to the dynamical shift and none – following – music patterns that appear on these 4 videos. The album will be a good listen, no doubt.