Album review: Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez
Not quite an album but, rather, a web series consisting of a compilation of ‘episodes’ featuring different singles and guest performances, ‘Song Machine’ is Gorillaz’s most ambitious project to date. The virtual band’s stylistic chaos and flexibility, trademark flippant bizarreness and iconic flair for flouting conventions and seeking to go beyond what modern artistry can accomplish, are all embodied in this episodic project. Its release has emphatically subverted all expectations and, as with most of their tracks, will undoubtedly contribute to the widely acknowledged perception of Gorillaz as a staple of modern music.
‘Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez’ sees Gorillaz be joined by a vast array of distinctive guest artists including Robert Smith, the lead singer of the iconic rock band The Cure, Elton John, Beck, St. Vincent, Skepta, Octavian, Slowthai, ScHoolboy Q, and many more. This project, spearheaded by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, deviates distinctly from Gorillaz’s previous releases; there is no single overarching theme or concept that can be associated with the collection of tracks, and each song exists as a standalone release.
Before compiling this series of songs and accompanying music videos into ‘Song Machine’, Gorillaz had released selected tracks from their 17-song instalment throughout the months of 2020, keeping their listeners in breathless anticipation and acting almost like a soothing balm throughout the pandemic that characterized this turbulent year. The round-up of all these releases, in addition to the inclusion of extra, previously unreleased, tracks, has provided a satisfying conclusion to the full unveiling of this project.
An abandonment of traditional musical typographies must take place in order for the listener to fully immerse themselves in Gorillaz’s tracks. Their musical creativity and innovative style is precisely what makes their music so addictive for their listeners, and ‘Song Machine’ is by no means an exception to this. A series of both virtual and live tour dates that will take place in future months have also been recently revealed, undoubtedly adding to the flurry of excitement that the release of ‘Song Machine’ has brought with it. Below, you will be able to find more information regarding Gorillaz’s tour dates, as well to listen to the episodes of ‘Song Machine’ in full.
- 12th-13th December 2020: Song Machine Global Live Stream
- 3rd June 2021: We Love Green Festival, France
- 5th June 2021: Primavera Festival, Spain
- 10th June 2021: Festival De Nîmes, France
- 12th June 2021: Primavera Porto, Portugal
- 16th June 2021: Tanzbrunnen, Cologne Germany
- 18th June 2021: Parkbühne Wuhlheide, Berlin Germany
- 23rd June 2021: Garorock, France
- 1st July 2021: Rockhal, Luxembourg
- 3rd July 2021: Rock Werchter, Belgium
- 9th July 2021: Parklive Festival, Russia
- 11th July 2021: Upark Festival, Ukraine
- 21st July 2021: Splendour in the Grass, Australia
- 7th August 2021: Smukfest, Denmark
- 11th August 2021: The O2, London UK
Watch the preview of Gorillaz’s upcoming virtual gig here.
Image credit: Gorillaz