Massive attack tribute

blueBlue Lines is generally considered the first trip hop album, although the term was not widely used before circa 1994. The album was a success in the United Kingdom, reaching #13 in the albums chart but sales were limited elsewhere. A fusion of electronic music, hip hop, dub, soul and reggae. The album established Massive Attack as one of the most innovative British bands of the 1990’s and the founder of trip hop’s Bristol Sound.

Music critic Simon Reynolds stated that the album also marked a change in electronic/dance music, “a shift toward a more interior, meditational sound. The songs on Blue Lines run at ‘spliff’ tempos — from a mellow 90 beats per minute …down to a positively torpid 67 bpm. The group also drew inspiration from concept albums in various genres by artists such as Billy Cobham (Stratus was sampled on Safe from harm), Herbie Hancock and Isaac Hayes.

The collective from Bristol have featured breakbeats, sampling, and rapping on a number of tracks, but the design of their albums have differed from traditional hip hop. Massive Attack approached the American-born hip hop movement from an underground British perspective and also incorporated live instruments into the mixes. They have also featured the vocals of Shara Nelson, Tracey Thorn, Elisabeth Fraser (From Cocteau twins) and Sinead O’connor as well as Horace Andy, along with the rapping of Tricky Kid.

Groundbreaking in every way could define the Massive attack sound and so is their use of samples. For instance, in 1998, Mezzanine marked a major departure from the jazzy and laidback sound of the first two albums (Blue Lines and Protection), invoking the dark undercurrents which had always been present in the collective’s music. The album’s textured and deep tone relies heavily on abstract and ambient sounds, as demonstrated in the song “Angel” among others.

Similar to their previous albums, the majority of the songs consists of one or more samples, ranging from Isaac Hayes to Led Zeppelin. Massive Attack sampled the song “Tribute” from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s eponymous 1972 album, used in “Black Milk”.

Some of their most noted songs have been without choruses and have featured dramatically atmospheric dynamics, conveyed through either distorted guitar crescendos, lavish orchestral arrangements or prominent, looped/shifting basslines, underpinned by high and exacting production values, involving sometimes copious digital editing and mixing. The pace of their music has often been slower than prevalent British dance music at the time. These and other psychedelic, soundtrack-like and DJist sonic techniques, formed a much-emulated style j and to quote Robert Del Naja : ‘You know, as far we were concerned, Massive Attack music is unique…”

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