Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (2010/2014) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (2010/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 56:53 minutes | 690 MB | Genre: Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Front Cover | © Parlophone UK

Plastic Beach is the third studio album by the British virtual band Gorillaz. Conceived from an unfinished Gorillaz project called Carousel, the album was recorded from June 2008 to November 2009, and was produced primarily by group co-creator Damon Albarn. It features guest appearances by several artists including Snoop Dogg, Gruff Rhys, De La Soul, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, Lou Reed, Mick Jones, Mark E. Smith, Paul Simonon, Bashy, Kano, Little Dragon and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Plastic Beach debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, selling approximately 74,432 copies in its first week of sales. It debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart with 112,000 copies in its first week of sales; it also charted within the top ten in several other countries. Plastic Beach received mostly positive reviews, and was named one of the year’s best albums by several critics.

Gorillaz began as a lark but turned serious once it became Damon Albarn’s primary creative outlet following the slow dissolve of Blur. Delivered five years after the delicate whimsical melancholy of 2005’s Demon Days, Plastic Beach is an explicit sequel to its predecessor, its story line roughly picking up in the dystopian future where the last album left off, its music offering a grand, big-budget expansion of Demon Days, spinning off its cameo-crammed blueprint. Traces of Albarn’s Monkey opera can be heard, particularly in the hypnotic Mideastern pulse of “White Flag,” but Damon’s painstaking pancultural pop junk-mining no longer surprises – when hip-hop juts up against Brit-pop, it’s expected – yet it still has the capacity to delight no matter which direction the Gorillaz may swing. Lou Reed’s crotchety croak on “Some Kind of Nature” has the same kind of gravitational pull as Mos Def leading the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble through the intensely circling “Sweepstakes,” while the group reaches new heights of sparkling pop on “Superfast Jellyfish,” aided by the return of De La Soul – the rappers who propelled “Feel Good Inc.” – and an appearance from Gruff Rhys, the Super Furry Animals frontman who is an ideal fit for Gorillaz (possibly because SFA’s genre-bending pop and Pete Fowler artwork clearly paved the way for Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s collaboration). A common thread among all these tracks is that they find Albarn ceding the spotlight to his fellow musicians, preferring to be the puppetmaster behind the curtain, and Plastic Beach works best when he’s the composer and producer, finding hidden strengths within his guests – having Mick Jones and Paul Simonon for the elastic title track, coaxing some powerful performances out of Bobby Womack – but often when Albarn takes center stage his laconic drawl lets the air out of the balloon. Curiously, much of this arrives toward the beginning of the album, the record gaining momentum as it unspools, working toward its climax, but the overall album accentuates moody texture over pop hooks. This emphasis means Plastic Beach is the first Gorillaz album to play like a soundtrack to a cartoon – which isn’t entirely a bad thing, because as Albarn grows as a composer, he’s a master of subtly shifting moods and intricately threaded allusions, often creating richly detailed collages that are miniature marvels. Ironically, these individual pieces don’t add up to an overall masterpiece, possibly because the narrative is convoluted and strained, getting in the way of the pure musical flow, but also because it’s hard not to shake the feeling that this is a transitional effort, pointing toward a day when Damon Albarn will feel no need to front a band, not even in a cartoon guise.

01 – Orchestral Intro (feat. sinfonia ViVA)
02 – Welcome To the World of the Plastic Beach (feat. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
03 – White Flag (feat. Bashy, Kano and the National Orchestra For Arabic Music)
04 – Rhinestone Eyes
05 – Stylo (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)
06 – Superfast Jellyfish (feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul)
07 – Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon)
08 – Glitter Freeze (feat. Mark E Smith)
09 – Some Kind of Nature (feat. Lou Reed)
10 – On Melancholy Hill
11 – Broken
12 – Sweepstakes (feat. Mos Def and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
13 – Plastic Beach (feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon)
14 – To Binge (feat. Little Dragon)
15 – Cloud of Unknowing (feat. Bobby Womack and sinfonia ViVA)
16 – Pirate Jet



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