The Virtual Band

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The Gorillaz is the most popular virtual band, meaning the “members” of the band are fictional cartoon characters. Behind the screen are many different artists and producers but the two main men who make the music and create the characters are Damon Albarn (guitarist) and Jamie Hewlett (illustrator). These two have created an alternate reality in which these characters live and in music videos like “Feel Good Inc.” and “Clint Eastwood” you can see bits and pieces of the world 2-D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russel live in. 2-D, the leader of the band, provides lead vocals (voiced by Albarn) and guitar as well as keyboard. Murdoc is the hassle of the group, and in the alternate world he always causes problems for the band. He plays bass and his dark image matches his sound. Russel plays the drums, but he also is able to summon spirits of ghost artists, which is how the band implements rappers into a lot of their songs. The last member is Noodle, a young Japanese girl specially trained to play guitar by her mentor.  Hewlett and everyone else involved in creating these characters and the world they live in clearly incorporated complex ideas and made the universe as real as possible.

Albarn is the main voice for 2-D, but the rest of the songs have many different artists featured. In songs like “Clint Eastwood” and “Rock the House” Del the Funky Homosapien’s ghost was summoned by Russel, a power he gained in his past. Noodle rarely speaks, but during Demon Days she is background in many songs and is voiced by Miho Hatori. Because the band is completely virtual, so are their concerts. The Gorillaz travel and do tours and concerts, just like any other band, but they have large screens with videos of the virtual band members playing. In front of them is Albarn singing, along with multiple different artists and musicians performing alongside him, bringing the Gorillaz music to life.

Very recently the Gorillaz have come out with a new album “Humanz” and it has been hit with controversy. Many believe that their new music does not have the sound of the “OG Gorillaz”, but what they fail to remember is the Gorillaz is a very conceptual band that is mainly based on ideas and themes instead of a specific genre. Their songs still hold the same meaning as before and their world is still developing no matter how their sound is developing.

 

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