They were also both members of a marching band ; Williams played the snare drum while Hugo was drum major.
Gorillaz third album Plastic Beach was not only their biggest in terms of production and the scope of its multimedia and narrative ambitions, but their least successful. The album campaign was meant to extend to two years and a possible second album but was truncated after around 10 months and abandoned by the band.
The two Gorillaz founders Damon Albarn from Blur and comic artist Jamie Hewlett fell out in the wake of the debacle and have only recently reconciled. Plastic Beach, as well as being the title of the album, is a location.
Finally, the reality of the island was taken a final step out of the sketchbooks and collective imaginations of its creators when a large model of it was created inside Shepperton Film Studios, immersed in a large water tank and filmed.
The Making of Plastic Beach documentary reveals that much of the island model was composed of toys and other plastic items fixed together and sprayed. To achieve this, I am developing a set of new conceptual tools to make sense of how such narratives are organised.
In Plastic Beach, how do we describe the immersive world we are being invited into and what term do we use for this?
We have landscape, soundscape etc. The term seeks to provide a useful new model for how a transmedia narrative that is based around a primary music text might function, though the model will be applicable to other transmedia narratives, particularly those disseminated digitally. Secondly, precisely what role does music have in such an immersive world and what vital information does it give concerning time and place?
The dangers of becoming overly focussed on visuals in musical multimedia have already been well explored particularly Goodwin and it is a constant juggling act finding the correct amount of attention to pay to musical and other media. Relies on a variety of disciplines congregating around music, multimedia and narrative: From a distance it looks beautiful, but on closer inspection is disovered to be entirely composed of ocean detritus.
The island thus becomes an unlikely musical utopia in the middle of the ocean. Orchestral wind instruments such as clarinets or oboes exist in The production of gorillaz album plastic beach music essay versions, which can be bought more cheaply than the wooden ones.
Toy versions of guitars and drums are made for children to play with. Large acoustic instruments like the piano can be made smaller and given a more versatile range of sounds by reconstructing them as electronic keyboards and synthesizers.
It perhaps relates most strongly to the first explosion of cheap portable personal instruments in the s such as synthesizers, drum machines or electronic keyboards that combined elements of the two, such as the Casiotone series.
The suggestion is that the old obsolete technology has washed up ashore on the Plastic Beach and are available as musical tools to be appropriated in the making of its soundtrack.
Plastic also connotes to the manufactured nature pop music, often connected with notions of late-capitalist production lines, inauthenticity. Casting the net more widely to embrace everything nautical, musical worlds of sea-shanties, ship sounds and pirate songs also have possible connections.
Finally, musical landscapes that evoke the feeling of being underwater, in oceans of vast depths come to mind. To achieve its effects it combines heavily reverbed percussion borrowed from dub reggae with a liquid electronic signal reminiscent of cinematic representations of sonar sound.
Finally, the isolated geographical location is posited as a cosmopolitan musical utopia, where musicians from around the world can congregate in a neutral space for collaboration. In reality, although the collaborators were indeed varied and multicultural, Albarn recorded in only four countries around the world: Basically we started off like the Owl and The Pussycat sailing round in a little wooden boat…but the dream turned bad and the idyllic island.
Once the bands and the record labels and the industries collapse…they get chucked into the sea…It all gets dumped…but then…bit by bit they started washing up on this beach…so I did what any musician would do…I just kind of dried them out, plugged them in and then miked them up….
Firstly, as the title track it is the most likely contender for the track that best summarizes the concepts of the album both musically and lyrically. To the dark, dark seas, comes the only whale. Through approximately half the song, we hear a synthesizer play an arpeggiated scale of two and a half octaves over the chords of B minor and E major which underpin the song.
These arpeggios are perhaps the key sound element to be identified with the Casiotone sound, immortalised during the s for its cheapness and cheesiness by its mocking use in the theme for Acorn Antiques from Victoria Wood As Seen On TV, which uses a descending two octave arpeggio.
The combination of cheap disposability and tropical exoticness the steel drums sounds allude to is a useful tool to help place the listener geographically and temporarily in the Plastic Beach soundscape. Ironically, these days Casiotone keyboards are anything but landfill and command good prices in the second-hand market having accrued a cult status, valued by amateurs and professional musicians alike American alternative band The Magnetic Fields have regularly used Casiotones in their own fairly lo-fi recordings.
There was considerable differentiation in the early s between digital technology that created its own sounds at the cheaper end of the market and more cutting edge technology that began to sample the real sounds of musical instruments see previous slide.
Inevitably, the sampling technology was initially far more expensive and out of the reach of those with limited budget, ensuring that it was aimed at the professional music producer rather than the home dabbler. Sounds in Plastic Beach, however, tend towards the cheaper and more ubiquitous technology rather than that which more expensive and exclusive.
Sounds are very similar across album tracks and similar musical materials are found in several songs. This results in a partial corrosion of narrative directionality in favour of extranarrative flow, due to the interpolation of events that are apparently only loosely bound up with the surrounding musical milieu, and the relinquishment of the idea of the song as a unique and self- contained whole.
If this erosion at the edges of songs is indeed occurring within Gorillaz, then it is even more evident in Plastic Beach, where the lack of samples imported from a miscellany of external sources gives way to the prevalence of synthesizer and synthetic beats created within the studio by Albarn.
Conclusions In my analysis of the sound world of Plastic Beach, I have attempted to demonstrate how musical connotations can be vital in helping to establish a setting in time and place for a narrative whose disparate pieces desperately need a binding agent to help fans make sense of it.
Although the music is often downplayed by fans in narrative importance, who tend to focus more on, and subsequently talk about, the more obvious narrative traits of music video and other visual media, a narrative like Plastic Beach would simply fall apart without it. It almost seems to obvious a point to miss, but without music, the music- based narrative loses its power entirely, a fact somewhat lost on early music video scholars but essential not be careless about in the music- based transmedia narrative, where Plastic Beach may ultimately represent the apex of achievement.
University of California Press. Rise of the Ogre.Plastic Beach is an album that began to kick around in Albarn's head in as he was sitting on a beach (imagine that) near his home. "I was just looking for all the plastic within the sand," he said in an interview with The Guardian.
The third Gorillaz studio album, Plastic Beach, was released in March The fourth, The Fall, was released in December as a free download for fan club members, then in April as a .
Most critics labeled the album the Neptunes best production in years, and put the duo back in the charts. Williams and his group N*E*R*D supported Gorillaz on their Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour. On the tour, Damon Albarn recorded a song with Williams but this was not featured on Gorillaz's album, The Fall.
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He would later confirm that they were working on another Gorillaz album that was scheduled for release the subsequent year. As a byproduct of the album's expedited production, The Now Now features fewer guest collaborators it was officially released as a digital download along with a second single, "Lake Zurich", and a music.
The Gorillaz’s older albums always made me feel happy (it’s great pop music, that’s just a fact), but they also gave me a strong sense of foreboding, like a fever dream that’s about to .