Gorillaz, Bananaz & internetz
April 21, 2009 4:18 AM   Subscribe

The Gorillaz documentary Bananaz has premiered online and can be viewed in full on Babelgum.

"In the late 1990's Jamie Hewlett met Damon Albarn and the concept of Gorillaz was born sometime after. At the birth of the project, film maker Ceri Levy set about to document this undertaking. The result is Bananaz, 91 minutes inside the remarkable real world of Gorillaz the most successful animated band ever.

Levy filmed alongside and behind the scenes from 2000 to 2006, from first drawings, animations, music and the musicians, through to the faces behind the voices of Murdoc, 2D, Noodle and Russel Hobbs. The result is an unsanitised, free-wheeling documentary film; an intimate, honest and often hilarious account of the working relationship between Albarn and Hewlett. With appearances by many of those who occasionally pass through this world ; Dennis Hopper, De la Soul, Ibrahim Ferrer, Dangermouse, Dan the Automator, D12, Bootie Brown and Neneh Cherry.
posted by slimepuppy (17 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'm still shocked by the fact that Damon Albarn is now one of the world's most successful hip hop artists.
posted by Kattullus at 4:55 AM on April 21, 2009 [7 favorites]

It's hard to believe Gorillaz has been around for over 10 years.
posted by HumanComplex at 5:30 AM on April 21, 2009

Gorillaz is probably the single band I can look back on my twelve year old self listening to and approve of. The eponymous album? Still pretty much entirely listenable. No small feat, that.
posted by Nomiconic at 5:44 AM on April 21, 2009

It's also hard to believe that Damon Albarn has been around for 41 years.

What I liked most about the documentary (which is unfortunately quite superficial) is the bizarre dynamic between Hewlett and Albarn. They both seem like difficult people to work with and you're never quite sure if the two of them are BFFFs or one disagreement away from becoming lifelong enemies.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:50 AM on April 21, 2009

slimepuppy, that sounds like virtually every great musical duo in history.
posted by mannequito at 5:55 AM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

Heh, that's true mannequito. I guess they haven't murdered each other because one takes care of the music and the other takes care of the visuals.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:02 AM on April 21, 2009

Bananas Gorilla, back in the old days, pre-internet.
posted by grounded at 8:22 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

The trailer [NSFW] sold me so hard.
posted by dobie at 8:26 AM on April 21, 2009

Wow, what a great link. Thanks for that.

Gorillaz has been on the fringe of my awareness for years, but I already follow so many bands, I really didn't feel I could approach yet another. This film, however, really has sparked my interest. The music is great, the incorporation of visuals as a primary "instrument" of the band is doubleplusgood in my book, and the depth of thought that went into the project is impressive.

I will have to pay more attention to them from now on.
posted by hippybear at 9:35 AM on April 21, 2009

In my eyes, the producers are the essence of the hip-hop in the Gorillaz. Their debut was primarily produced by Dan the Automator, while Demon Days had Danger Mouse as the primary producer (I don't recognize James Dring or Jason Cox from any prior work, and it seems their credits on Discogs are limited to Gorillaz tracks). Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett were smart to tap those two, but I don't think you'd have the same feel without them. This said, I haven't watched the documentary thing yet.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:11 AM on April 21, 2009

We can't forget there Olympic collaboration as well, which musically at least, if not visually, merges a number of traditionally disparate styles very nicely together. Damon does indeed seem to be a total asshole but I love his work. The Gorillaz discs feature catchy, poppy, hit tunes along with music that would never be played on radio.
posted by juiceCake at 1:25 PM on April 21, 2009

That was a very interesting documentary. I put it on expecting to fall asleep watching it but it kept my attention all the way through.
posted by Kattullus at 10:23 PM on April 21, 2009

Oh well, I was going to watch it but Bablegum appears to be broken.
posted by awfurby at 11:46 PM on April 21, 2009

Awfurby, that's weird. I tried hitting play today and it returned a 'video not available' message. I cliked on another video in the bottom frame and back again to the original and it started playing.

Maybe try this direct (auto-play) link to the video?
posted by slimepuppy at 9:16 AM on April 22, 2009

Let's not forget Monkey, the excellent "circus-opera" stage adaptation of Journey to the West that Albarn & Hewlett produced last year. I've had the soundtrack in my personal frequent rotation for the better part of the last six months.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:28 PM on April 22, 2009

Ah good the video link finally worked.

That's a great doco. Really great. And will Damon have any teeth left in another 10 years?
posted by awfurby at 8:03 AM on April 23, 2009

I wonder if he knocked that tooth out with a thrown cigarette.
posted by Kattullus at 9:09 AM on April 23, 2009

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