“Clint Eastwood (Ed Case/Sweetie Irie Remix)” (Parlophone 2001)
This one remix changed Edwin Makromallis’s entire life. The story holds that the underground UK garage producer, who released under the moniker Ed Case, met Damon Albarn around the time he was finishing up his first Gorillaz album. Albarn invited him to pick one of the tracks to remix, and according to Case’s Discogs page, he performed his version of the Gorillaz’s breakthrough hit “Clint Eastwood” live at London’s famous Notting Hill Carnival with Albarn himself just a few days later. (You can see rare and amusing footage of that show here.) While Ed Case’s remix broke him into mainstream success in Britain, the true heads may prefer the Middle Row version of “Tomorrow Comes Today” that featured on the same vinyl release. Its squelchy bassline and shuffly drums were composed by Carl H., a pirate radio host on Magic FM. Whoda thunk?
Gorillaz vs Spacemonkeyz, “Lil Dub Chefin” (Astralwerks/EMI 2002)
The Gorillaz’s 2006 biography Rise Of The Ogre reports that a team of monkeys used on space tests snuck into the Gorillaz’s Kong Studios and stole their tracks, which the so-called Spacemonkeyz then remixed without official consent from the band. The record that resulted, Laika Come Home, was one of the only releases ever attributed to the band. It deviates from the traditional concept of a remix album by allowing just one artist to rework all the tracks rather than featuring reworks by various different sources. “Lil Dub Chefin”, an alternate version of “M1 A1”, was the biggest hit on the compilation, as it hit #73 on the UK Singles Chart.
Redman & Gorillaz, “Gorillaz On My Mind” (Immortal 2002)
The most famous remix of “19-2000” was composed by Soulchild, whom Albarn tasked with following up Ed Case’s hit remix from the previous year. And while their very similar version played on the radio and featured on TV commercials and video games, our favorite “19-2000” rework featured on none other than the soundtrack for Blade II. “Gorillaz On My Mind” is more than a remix; it’s a collaborative re-imagining of the original that involves American rapper Redman spitting the verses and the Gorillaz providing the choruses. This kind of magic could only be the result of deft scheming by a mastermind like Murdoc.
“Feel Good Inc (Stanton Warriors Remix)” (Parlophone/Wax 2005)
It takes a mighty talent to take up the challenge of remixing a mammoth anthem like “Feel Good Inc”—a talent like the globally renowned duo Stanton Warriors. Their Gorillaz rework appeared on a vinyl release in 2005 and nestled the famously catchy vocal and riff amid the Warriors’ signature beefy drum & bass kicks with a trance-y hoover bass-edging melody.
“Dare (Soulwax Remix)” (EMI 2005)
“Dare,” the second single off of Gorillaz’s 2005 hit Demon Days, snagged the top spot on the UK Singles Charts immediately after its debut and has remained one of the catchiest pop melodies to surface in the last 10 years. Both the original and the Soulwax remake are sung by Noodle, who for this album was voiced by Roses Gabor. “Dare” also features backing vocals by the Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder. Soulwax’s dark electronic take on the single first appeared on the 2007 remix compilation album, D-Sides. The remix boosts the song’s bassline with thick electronic chords that make the groovy original sound beefier and irresistibly danceable. It’s worth noting that DFA—as in LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and his label co-founder Tim Goldsworthy—also reimagined “Dare” on the D-Sides release. Their much more psychedelic reinterpretation is equally worth checking out.
“Kids With Guns (Hot Chip Remix)” (EMI 2005)
“Kids With Guns” originally appeared on the 2005 album Demon Days and remains one of the band’s strongest and most-recognizable singles. The song is representative of the album’s turn away from Gorillaz’s earlier work; it adopts a darker, more brooding tone than the goofy lyricisms that defined the band’s first two albums. According to Albarn, the song was inspired by a child in his daughter’s school who showed up with a knife. Despite the song’s more sinister inclinations, its 2012 remake by indie-electronica band Hot Chip is a joyful reimagining of a serious original. Hot Chip’s faster rework leans into their penchant for pop and house music vocabularies. In lieu of Gorillaz’s melancholy, lackadaisical riffs, Hot Chip introduces upbeat synth stabs and indie rock guitar tropes. The resulting piece is the perfect union of two great musical minds.
“Stylo (Chiddy Bang Remix)” (Parlophone 2010)
In a track-by-track guide on NME, Murdoc explained that “Stylo” represented a new and more electro-oriented direction for the band. The remix from Chiddy Bang twists those influences into a more hip-hop form, warping the original’s chilled vibe into something more menacing at first. Eventually, it changes tack and channels an uplifting melody—especially for the choruses, which float on soft pads and squelchy sounds.
Published April 03, 2017.