Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Space Monkeyz vs. Gorillaz 

Space Monkeyz vs. Gorillaz: Laika Come Home (Astralwerks)

Whether it's casting freak rapper Kool Keith as the demented gynecologist Dr. Octagon or transforming Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Kid Koala and himself into postapocalyptic anime superheroes in Deltron 3030, Dan "the Automator" Nakamura produces soundtracks for all the kooky comic-strip worlds in his head. That might help explain Space Monkeyz vs. Gorillaz: Laika Come Home, a remix version of Nakamura's 2001 sci-fi pop album Gorillaz. What could have ended up as a commercial wank-off of overblown house tracks is instead an adventure into deeper territory. LCH will undoubtedly leave the Gorillaz-embracing MTV set scratching their heads in bewilderment.

On this foray, the "remixers" are a trio of mutant cosmonaut monkeys who worship Laika, the dog the Soviet Union sent into orbit during the Cold War, and honor her with an album of deep instrumental dub. Nakamura and his monkeys mostly avoid the temptation to ape dub's godfather, Lee "Scratch" Perry, though there are some recognizable homages on several cuts. Unfortunately, a few cuts teeter on the brink of pop mediocrity, such as the lightweight, Specials-style ska of "Lil' Dub Chefin'." But dub is a deep and expansive landscape, and Nakamura seems to grasp the genre's possibilities. He also demonstrates an ear for offbeat vocalists, including toaster Earl 16 and U-Brown, the master of dancehall non sequiturs.

It's nice to see that commercial success doesn't have to mean compromise. Automator fans and acolytes of trippy, spliffed-out dub will not be disappointed. Put on your favorite space suit, dim the lights and fire it up. Hallucinogenic space bananas are optional.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of...

More by Matt Fisher

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 22, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation