The Fall

Until the release of The Fall, the iPad had seemed unnecessary. Then came the new Gorillaz album which was completely recorded on lead singer Matt Damon’s iPad while the band was on world tour in 2010. It started as a digital album available only to members of the Gorillaz online fan club, Sub-Division. Mixed in England by Stephen Sedgwick, The Fall boasts 15 bass-heavy songs.

Following up an album like Plastic Beach seemed hard enough, but creating it all on an iPad is something only Damon would do. The quality is surprisingly nice and it sounds like it was recorded in a studio and not on a tour bus or in a hotel room. The whole album is slower than most other Gorillaz albums, and the dominant bass lines sound more like dubstep at times, but Damon’s voice balances it out.

The electronic sounds that provide melody are extremely vibrant, and the ghostly white noise induces a dream-like state. I don’t like techno, nor trance music or even dubstep, but the The Fall is a perfect combination of them all. “The Joplin Spider” demonstrates this sound by making me feel like I’m in an Atari video game that turns into a nightmare.

The songs have a theme to them, usually based on the part of the country in which they were recorded. “Parish of the Space Dust” has a Texas radio sound. “Speak it in the Mountains” has an echoing vocal intro that makes it sound like voices bouncing of off mountain peaks as well as a solo that consists of nothing more than a recording of a mountain stream. This play on sound is used throughout the album, making The Fall a fun album to listen to.

While this album is extremely experimental and just weird, it has a few pop gems. The desire to dance hits me when I listen to certain songs, and while The Fall is perfect for any club, it’s also suitable to listen to in your home. I can only imagine how many awesome albums could be made if more bands brought an iPad with them when they toured. Recording on the road, pulling inspiration from all the different places the played, gave the Gorillaz a varied sound. The Gorillaz took a new step in music, one that should not have worked. However, not only did The Fall make it work, but it surpassed all my expectations.

Daniel Magwire