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by Oliver Wang
1 January, 2001@12:00 am
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What do you get when you throw together Dan “The Automator ” Nakamura, Cibo Matto’s Miho Hatori, Blur’s Damon Albarn, Tank Girl’s Jamie Hewlett and Del The Funky Homosapien? A surprisingly superior example of how collaborations can actually achieve the synergistic potential they’re meant for. Nakamura’s no stranger to the practice – he’s been a part of Dr. Octogon, Handsome Boy Modelling School and most recently, Deltron 3030, but the Gorillaz project features some of his best production ever – accessibly funky with its chunky breakbeats rather than the retro-old school aesthetic that he threw down on Octo and not as scientifically oriented as the Deltron project. Just simple, effective beats (dig that “Modesty Blaise” sample on “Rock The House”!) that work across the hip-hop/alt. rock range the album aims for. Of the bunch, Del and Hatori are the least effective – Hatori for being nearly invisible, Del for just being kind of bland on “Rock The House” and the single “Clint Eastwood”. As for Albarn, I could dig on his laconic vocal style that seems to update Chet Baker’s heroin-honeyed voice for a post-grunge rock era. For real – in a time where rockers wanna be rappers and rappers wanna rock, the Gorillaz finally show you how the fusion is supposed to work.

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