That previously reported Monkey: Journey To The West project, involving Gorillaz collaborators Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett in the classic tale of a Monkey King approaching monkey enlightenment one monkey day at a time, has become a pretty big deal. First there were the classy openings at opera houses around the world, followed by the BBC commissioning a Hewlett/Albarn reprise (Journey To The East) for their 2008 Summer Olympics Coverage. But this is the pinnacle for this Simian Mobile Opera: a YouTube homepage takeover. Shrimp and white wine for all.
Damon and Jamie sat to talk about it, and also chose the occasion to premiere the video for the Monkey project soundtrack’s first single, “Monkey Bee.” It’s part Gorillaz backbeats, part Chinese folk/modal melodies, part Lord Of The Ringsy epic battle-sequence art direction, with some tail-end post-punk and unhelpful subtitles just in case you need more things to pay attention to.