Tag Archives: Massive Attack

Solange – Cranes In The Sky (2016)

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solange-2016

‘Cranes in the Sky’ features on Solange’s album A Seat at the Table. The track features Raphael Saadiq on bass, a downtempo R&B take on Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Symphony’ and a video directed by the singer and her husband Alan Ferguson. Solange Knowles is working out some issues and blossoming with it.

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Massive Attack & Young Fathers – Voodoo In My Blood (2016)

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Massive Attack & Young Fathers

Is it acceptable to use the phrase “trip hop” anymore? Undoubtedly the giants of the genre, Massive Attack are back and in collaboration with their anointed, young successors Young Fathers. Their new EP Ritual Spirit, features ‘Voodoo In My Blood’. As if to complete a loop, there are many echoes of Radiohead’s brand of trip hop within. But if the strobing sound is not to your taste, the video of Rosamund Pike is at the very least an eyeful.

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Massive Attack – Teardrop (1998)

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Massive Attack again

Seven years after Massive Attack’s Blue Lines introduced what would become to be known as trip-hop, they released another ground-breaking affair, Mezzanine. Last month, I featured Felt’s collaboration with Elizabeth Fraser. This was 13 years after ‘Primitive Painters’ and Massive Attack had the wherewithal to collaborate with Fraser, a worthy successor to their previous muses Tracey Thorn and Shara Nelson. The dubby treatment of the album’s ‘Teardrop’ would reach a wide audience via the Hugh Laurie series House.

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Mahavishnu Orchestra – You Know, You Know (1971)

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Mahavishnu Orchestra

There’s going to be a certain groove to this week, prior to the festivities of next. When a couple of Miles Davis collaborators, jazz guitarist John McLaughlin and foremost fusion drummer Billy Cobham got together with keyboard pioneer Jan Hammer, they created something quite mind-blowing. ‘You Know, You Know’ features on jazz-rock album The Inner Mounting Flame. The workout was notably sampled by Massive Attack (‘One Love’) and Mos Def (‘Kalifornia’). Billy Cobham was a drumming machine before such things existed.

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Ian Brown – F. E. A. R. (2001)

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Ian Brown

“For Each A Road, For Everyman A Religion”. On his third solo album Music of the Spheres, Ian Brown uses the acronym ‘F.E.A.R.’ as a creative frame for the song’s lyrics. I spoke of the influence of Massive Attack last week. You can hear the familiar use of lush strings in this return to form from the ex-frontman of The Stone Roses. Have a good week.

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Ghostpoet – Survive It (2011)

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Ghostpoet

‘Survive It’ is off Ghostpoet’s debut Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam, released in 2011 on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings. He’s a hip-hop artist who likes to mix in electronica and soul. ‘Survive It’ combines piano jazz, light percussion and female vocals to create something special. Peterson will have liked. Massive Attack would have been proud. Have a good week.

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Lulu James – Be Safe (2012)

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Lulu James

Reminiscent of the early electronic soul of Massive Attack, last year’s ‘Be Safe’ was music to these ears. Just as importantly, Lulu James would seem to be a diva for the sound. This former model was born at the foot of Kilimanjaro and brought up in South Shields. With the stark style of a Grace Jones and the smooth sound of Shara Nelson, James is making such contrasts work for her. Very good.

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Beltram – Energy Flash (1991)

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Joey Beltram

How dance music had changed in a decade. I stumbled across a recent Mixmag listing of the best dance/house tunes of all time, as voted by their readership. It had me hunting down old copies of the magazine that listed the same in 1996 and 2001. Given that all three lists cover most of the genre’s heyday, I was interested to compare shifting opinions. In 1996, Joey Beltram’s ‘Energy Flash’ topped the list with Alison Limerick’s ‘Where Love Lives’, and Ce Ce Rogers ‘Someday’. By 2001, favourite tracks for the same period had become those of Massive Attack, Faithless and Underworld, and not much has changed since. Energy Flash was a game changer – exploding onto the scene in 1991 and paving the way for experimentation with a harder sound. But of course, that experimentation would ultimately make ‘Energy Flash’ less essential. But what memories… dry ice and smiles all round.

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Mazzy Star – Fade Into You (1994)

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Mazzy Star

This week, I met up with a pal who’s in town for Christmas. I spent a memorable slice of 1994 hanging out with him in Santa Monica. That summer, ‘Fade into You’ had the type of radio exposure that you can only get in the US. Mazzy Star were a local L.A. band who would never reach such heights again. Singer Hope Sandoval would go on to collaborate with Massive Attack, and for fans of her distinctively haunting vocals, check out ‘Paradise Circus’ off Heligoland. Have a great weekend.

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Richard Wagner – Tannhäuser: Ouvertüre (1845)

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The soundstage of orchestral strings is something to behold, whether it be used by Massive Attack or delivered by the New York Philharmonic. Often played as a separate concert work, Wagner’s famous Ouvertüre from the Tannhäuser opera starts slowly and majestically. The opening chorus of horns and clarinets are quickly bolstered by violas and cellos and then by the euphoric sound of pulsating violins. The pulse was used to depict the revelry of a drunken orgy. More modern music can be so proper.

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Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (1991)

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What can be said that hasn’t already been said about this track, its video and the Blue Lines album from where it came? A heady mix of hip hop beat, dancefloor soul and orchestral strings – the highest of top drawers. Enjoy and have a great week.

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