Two years after the release of their sixth studio album The Now Now, Gorillaz launched into the new decade with a new concept release. At the beginning of the year, the virtual band revealed Song Machine, a series of singles and music videos released throughout the year. The project began this year with unexpected collaborations featuring Slowthai and Slaves, and since then the band kept up the exciting features with collaborations with Peter Hook & Georgia, and most recently, Skepta and Tony Allen. Creating a universe with alternating expectations, Gorillaz are generating the exciting capabilities of bending genres and fusing unlikely pairings for the ultimate listening experience. Here’s a rundown of every Song Machine release.
Momentary Bliss featuring Slowthai and Slaves
Formulated upon an unprecedented array of unpredictability, Momentary Bliss is a sneak attack of a bright colorful punk moment. In the early seconds the song begins with gentle melodies before entering Slowthai’s chaotic rage filled flow. It’s everything listeners wouldn’t expect, but that’s what makes it so exciting.
Désolé featuring Fatoumata Diawara
The second single from Song Machine finds Gorillaz teaming up with Malian actor and singer Fatoumata Diawara. Extending the pacing of the instrumental, the song dedicates itself to capturing the delectable groove. Strings and horns capture the livelihood of the track as Diawara appears and sings gently often times in a language that’s not English. A first for the band. Challenging to dissect Diawara’s vocal abilities as it’s masked through the overlay of the bands vocalists as well as the instrumental, but towards the end, the song takes a wild turn with a jarring utilization of repetition.
Aries featuring Peter Hook and Georgia
Track number three out of the thirteen-episode series showcases the tag team of Peter Hook and Georgia. Immediately escaping into a trance of a synth loop, Aries steadily begins with a melodic bass line that helps capture the vocal technique of 2-D. Working as a PSA for the current state of reality, Aries is an airy, cryptic, and wavy chill tune. At this point Gorillaz is 3/3 let’s see if they continue to keep up the momentum...
How Far? featuring Skepta & Tony Allen
For the third installment of the series, Gorillaz enlist Skepta and the late Tony Allen for How Far. Prior to release, the Afrobeat pioneer unfortunately passed away, and the track marks as a tribute to the late great drummer. Another track that hints at the sign of the times, Skepta tackles the lustful addiction to materialism. As Skepta raps over a Tony Allen production, the song is mysterious, haunting, and a great mashup of musical styles and eras. Long live Tony Allen!
Friday 13th featuring Octavian
The fourth installment to Gorillaz’ Song Machine series featuring a guest appearance by Octavian. The French-British singer/rapper invites listeners into a woozy and mesmerizing escape into an alternative reality. Backed by dreamy instrumentation, the song travels into the space of an unknown. Exploring the sudden speed of time, Octavian provides an enchanting mediation that instantly hypnotizes listener.
Stream every new Song Machine release of CTRL’s weekly updated playlist, New Tunes Now available on Apple Music + Spotify