Damon Albarn Records An Album In The Democratic Republic of Congo

By Joseph Giannone 2011-07-26 17:33:55
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When I went to high school, the most played songs that I remember were “Feel Good Inc.” and "Clint Eastwood." Not only were these tracks a decadent pleasure, they were also a part of a deeper mythos formulated by Gorillaz. This band was an epic gathering of styles and genres, with their most notable album Demon Days which hailed "Feel Good." Produced by the auteur Danger Mouse, he added the unique flair of retro sounds and beautiful melodies heard on the record, but the man behind this work's amazing imagery and dreamy landscapes was the real maestro. This man who created Gorillaz is Damon Albarn. The silly cartoon group was known for its collaborations. In my opinion, his best work is when collaboration exceeds solo ambition, like combining his talents with the most famous artists of our time including: Del tha Funkee Homosapien, De La Soul, Mos Def, MF DOOM, Denis Hooper, Snoop Dogg, Ike Turner and Denis Hopper.

Albarn is known for seminal work with the Britpop group Blur. In 1994 when Parklife was released it quickly pushed its creator to fame. It's important to understand that his collaborative efforts mark superior over his solo efforts, or Blur for that matter. Now Albarn is continuing that trend by taking a week exploration in the Congo to record a new album with artists Dan the Automator (who is a regular Gorillaz producer), XL label chief Richard Russell, and London DJ Darren Cunningham (aka Actress), Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Jneiro Jarel, Marc Antoine, Jo Gunton and Kwes. The eclectic band leader is taking this group of artists with varying styles to record a new record in only a week’s span. This effort is for the benefit of Oxfam’s work in the DRC, Democratic Republic of Congo.

If you are interested in keeping up with this endeavor, and I suggest you do, you can view their detailed progress on twitter and tumblr in real time. With Albarn’s track record, this is an album to get excited about. It seems like they are pushing the boundaries of their artistic vision, and their ability to finish an album in a week, so this will either be an epic moment in Albarn's career or an epic fail. Courtesy of their tumblr page, the group posted a new song today to give us Albarn junkies a taste of what’s going on the Congo. Check out “Hallo”:

DRC Music “Hallo” (Feat. Tout Puissant Mukalo)
Hallo (clip - featuring Tout Puissant Mukalo) by DRC Music

Sounding like an excerpt directly from Gorillaz's early work, this track definitely gives me confidence in the possibilities, a sprawling hip-hop melody that cascades the listeners senses to create a psychedelic style of world music.
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