Friday, July 25, 2008

Damon Albarn & Jamie Hewlett Present MONKEY: JOURNEY TO THE WEST

Monkey: Journey To The West The Opera July 23 London Premiere At The Royal Opera House

JOURNEY TO THE WEST, an album conceived and created by Damon Albarn (music) and Jamie Hewlett (visuals) under the guise of MONKEY, will be released in North America this fall by XL Recordings.

Created by the GORILLAZ team of Albarn and Hewlett, JOURNEY TO THE WEST is performed by an assortment of European and Chinese musicians and singers and was produced by Albarn. The album's packaging does likewise, moving beyond the stunning design of the opera MONKEY: JOURNEY TO THE WEST and exploring to the fullest its characters, storylines, themes and inspirations.

MONKEY: JOURNEY TO THE WEST, the opera upon which the album is based, makes its London Premiere July 23 at the Royal Opera House. A singular and unique fusion of traditional mandarin opera/folklore and modern audiovisual interpretation, MONKEY... is the result of director Chen Shi-Zheng having enlisted GORILLAZ masterminds Albarn and Hewlett to provide unique, modern musical and visual interpretations of the themes and characters of this most beloved work of Chinese folklore. The live production utilizes nearly 40 Chinese circus acrobats, martial artists and singers from China and an orchestra of Western and traditional Chinese instruments.

MONKEY: JOURNEY TO THE WEST is performed in Mandarin with subtitles, its storyline chronicling the Monkey King's journey to enlightenment as it takes him undersea, to decadent banquets in heaven, through encounters with Spider Maidens and Skeleton Demons, and eventually to paradise. The album, which was recorded in London and Beijing over the last year, follows this narrative, opening with "Monkey's World," proceeding to a "Heavenly Peach Banquet," enduring a "Battle In Heaven," encountering "The White Skeleton Demon" and so on, all the way through to the finale' of "Disappearing Volcano."

The album runs 50 minutes and consists of 22 instrumental and vocal tracks. The full track listing is:
1. Monkey's World
2. Monkey Travels
3. Into the Eastern Sea
4. The Living Sea
5. The Dragon King
6. Iron Rod
7. Out of the Eastern Sea
8. Heavenly Peach Banquet
9. Battle in Heaven
10. O Mi To Fu
11. Whisper
12. Tripitaka's Curse
13. Confessions of a Pig
14. Sandy the River Demon
15. March of the Volunteers
16. The White Skeleton Demon
17. Monk's Song
18. I Love Buddha
19. March of the Iron Army
20. Pigsy in Space
21. Monkey Bee
22. Disappearing Volcano

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