Published Sep 29, 2008Anyone who dismissed Gorillaz as Damon Albarns cartoon hip-hop vanity project with artist Jamie Hewlett should check out Monkey: Journey to the West. The duos latest effort extends far beyond the mixed media spectacle of Gorillaz, adapting Wu Chengens 16th century novel using Hewletts visual style and Albarns score. Described as a "circus opera, the production directed by Chen Shi-Zheng is based on Mandarin folklores tale of a Monkey Kings epic journey to enlightenment. While the shows have been limited (a sequence was used during the Olympics), the soundtrack is universal in every sense. Compared to the bubblegum hip-pop of Gorillaz, Monkeys score is a challenging listen, blending Asian delicacies with Albarns scope of pop music, making for a worldly, experimental and at times, an even accessible listen.