Friday the 13th (feat. Octavian)
Gorillaz have partnered with French-British rapper and singer Octavian for a new song, Friday the 13th, which marks the fourth instalment in the animated outfit’s ongoing Song Machine project.
A constant with every new track from Song Machine is the impeccable production and detail Gorillaz bring to even a simple, groovy instrumental like Friday the 13th. As ever, mastermind Damon Albarn has a talent for contextualising and utilising new voices and collaborators, and the track’s instrumentals correspond perfectly to Octavian’s rhythm and tone, the detailed production alluding to a lazy, reggae-inspired groove that drives the track.
The cracked, raspy lilt from Octavian taps into a niche that has previously been monopolised by artists such as Joji, King Krule and Yung Lean. His overall tonality and flow and a tasteful use of autotune throughout mimics the same dishevelled, emotive style.
The lyrical element of Friday the 13th is an abstract ballad about a riotous night out. This narrative is more superficial than previous tracks in the series, which allows the emotional quality of Octavian’s performance to standout.
The only pitfall of Friday the 13th is the lack of vocal presence from 2-D/Albarn. However, the overall aesthetic stays faithful to the group as its use of synth, dissonant guitar and a dreamy, harmonic outro in classic Gorillaz style betrays the groups influence over the track.
Friday the 13th is less structured than other tracks from Song Machine thus far and feels like more of a transitional moment in the project. Despite this, it makes for an impressive addition to the series and continues to hint at an impressive compilation album come year’s end.