Gorillaz - The Fall - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Gorillaz - The Fall

by Katy Ledger Rating:6.5 Release Date:2011-01-21

Never ones to shy away from a novelty, the world's first album recorded on an iPad would of course come from the 'virtual band' of cartoon characters, Gorillaz. Recorded over a 32 day tour of North America, The Fall acts as musical diary for a reflective and often road-weary Damon Albarn, as he details touring experiences that range from watching a plastic bag blow down the highway on 'Little Plastic Bags' to witnessing the glorious "pinks and blues of Houston in the sun" on 'The Parish of Space Dust'.

As you would expect from an album recorded using iPad apps, it's jam-packed with programmed effects, beats and layered synths; various instruments such as a Korg, omnichord, guitar and ukulele were added later but tracks also feature the odd crackled snippet of conversation, radio transmissions and of course Albarn's distinctive vocals. The overall effect is beautifully simple.

Although the hip hop influenced beats are still present, this is not an album that sits nicely alongside Demon Days or Plastic Beach, but it's not meant to. Originally released as a Christmas present for fan club members, The Fall doesn't flow like an album; it's a no-frills, take it or leave it collection of creative musical ramblings that ransacks everything America has contributed to music from country to soul. Highlights include; 'The Snake in Dallas', which adds some much need bite to a sometimes overly dreamy album, 'Hillbilly man' and 'Bobby in Phoenix' featuring Bobby Womack. It could do without the yodelling outro, which sounds like a really annoying ringtone that some chump would end up paying £5 a month for.

As the resulting product of a bored Damon Albarn with a shiny new iPad and a few nifty apps at his disposal The Fall is not a bad collection of songs but I think the most interesting thing about this album, when teamed with the numerous albums recorded on Garageband and the like, are the questions that it throws up about the future of music production, the influence of technology on music and, considering how easy it is to record music these days without losing quality, whether we even need studios at all. Discuss.

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