This week’s #throwbackthursday will very briefly explore the origins of an unreleased Gorillaz demo which has found itself on two Gorillaz tracks: Rhinestone Eyes and Strobelite.
It all started with Africa Express — during a 2008 performance in London, Damon Albarn and Africa Express musicians jammed and experimented with a song called “Electric Shock” live. Many thanks to YouTube user Noodleblasterz for this rare track:
This same song, Electric Shock, would soon be recorded as a demo for Plastic Beach. Damon proudly premiered the demo on BBC Radio One during the Zane Lowe show on January 14, 2009. It sounded like this:
This demo version has an orchestral lead-in by sinfonia ViVa; the lead-in would later be renamed “Three Hearts, Seven Seas, Twelve Moons,” and included as a bonus track on the iTunes version of Plastic Beach. The Electric Shock instrumental never became a full track on Plastic Beach, but was sampled in Rhinestone Eyes (think: that’s electric-tric-tric-tric-tric!)
Eventually, Electric Shock morphed into yet another demo in 2014, and was featured on a Damon Albarn mix for FACT magazine. If the synth riff in the new demo sounds familiar, that’s because it was remade into the funky riff you hear in Strobelite! Listen here:
I’ve researched and sourced much of this information using another great Gorillaz blog, Gorillaz Song by Song (which happens to be by my friend Jack SS of Room 13!) His post on Electric Shock has more background information if you’d like a more in-depth analysis of the song. Gorillaz Song by Song contains tons of helpful info on many more Gorillaz trax and digs quite deep.