Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

The Friday mix: Trip Hop masters, Massive Attack

Every now and then I select a band of which I am a fan and pull together a mix for you. I always like it when someone does this for me with a band I’m interested in but know little about. This British duo has been at it since the 80s and are pretty much considered to have founded the Trip Hop genre. They often invite great vocalists to come in and do session work for them so it was a while before I realized that so many of the songs I had heard were all the same band. If you want to get a single album to start with, I’d recommend ‘Mezzanine,’ but if you’re looking for the best of their music, here is the Cliff Notes version.massive_attack_main

  1. Protection – The marriage of Massive Attack and Tracey Thorn of Everything but the Girl is a wonderful thing. I love the sentiment of the lyrics and the vocal performance is spot on.
  2. What Your Soul Sings – Another beautiful melody this time with Sinead O’Connor providing the vocals. I listen to her performance and wonder who has ever made a sillier career blunder than her ripping up a picture of that old man on Saturday Night Live.
  3. Future Proof – This is on the slow end of danceable. I like the overall dark feel the electronic percussion, synthesizer effects, and wailing guitar  achieve in this song.
  4. I Against I – Cool song with smooth raps from one of my faves, Mos Def, and video from Hero with Jet Li. It’s a triple threat.
  5. Everywhen – Keyboards that are alternately dramatic and oozy set the stage for Horace Andy’s low and slow vocals on this pretty track.
  6. Polaroid Girl – This instrmental is from the soundtrack to ‘Danny the Dog’ (‘Unleashed’ in America) with Jet Li. Most of this music was great for the movie but doesn’t really stand up alone. This is an exception. Electric piano, synthesized effects, and patient percussion make this one very cool.
  7. Better Things – It’s a little confusing, but it looks like this was written by Robert del Naja and Grant Marshall of Massive Attack, though it was released on an Everything but the Girl disc and Tracey Thorn provides the vocals. They lay down kind of a spacey minimalist Reggae groove for Thorn’s evocative voice.
  8. Risingson – The research was tricky, but it appears the two vocalists in this dark but tranquil song are 3D and Daddy G. There are several versions of this song, but this one is my fave.
  9. Teardrop – This is a fantastic song from Mezzanine that you have probably heard at some point. Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins provides the vocals on the original. If you’re interested, Newton Faulkner also does an unbelievable cover of this song.
  10. Inertia Creeps –  I saw someone online describe this sound as Turkish. I can kind of hear that, I guess. It’s a great groove at any rate.
  11. Man Next Door – Another great song off of Mezzanine. This one is an industrial cover of an old Paragons tune about a nightmare neighbor.
  12. Black Milk – Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins sings another one for them. They sampled “Tribute” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, but Manfred never constructed a dark, dreamy song like this one.
  13. Small Time Shot Away – Tinny percussion and a non-stop keyboard riff set the backdrop for Damon Albarn’s (Blur) breathy, almost ambient vocals.
  14. Antistar – There is something sinister-feeling about this groove. I love it. I feel all sneaky when I listen to it.

Enjoy with a reservoir glass of absinthe. Have a great weekend.


October 2, 2009 - Posted by | Chillout, Electronica


  1. Not sure what compelled me to respond to this, and I found this very much by accident.. but I think your choices were a nice list, but I thought i’d give my two cents on a good sampling collection of titles by them (though I won’t connect any copyrightten files, but just my two cents worth:

    I agree first that your “album” suggestion “Mezzanine” is a powerful album in their shift of depth, but I personally tend to lead people toward their “100th Window” album (which 5 of your 14 songs listed are from – which I think says something for a 9-song album in its own right)

    But if I had to pick 14 tracks across their decades of brilliant work to give people a taste of them as you did, I would probably give this list a try (you’ll notice several songs I, too, share your opinions on):

    1 Unfinished Sympathy (off Blue Lines)
    2 Karmacoma (off Protection)
    3 Weather Storm (off Protection)
    4 Sly (off Protection)
    5 Teardrop (off Mezzanine)
    6 Risingson (off Mezzanine)
    7 Black Milk (off Mezzanine)
    8 Reflection (off Inertia Creeps EU single)
    9 I Against I (off Special Cases EU single)
    10 Butterfly Caught (off 100th Window)
    11 Everywhen (off 100th Window)
    12 Danny The Dog (off Danny The Dog)
    13 United Snakes (pre-release promo for 2010 album)

    …but definitely HANDS-DOWN, total agreement, THE song that has always hit me (and should always be the last song on any compilation due to how it ends) is indeed:

    14 Antistar (off 100th Window)

    You mention there is something sinister about it. For me, I find it cathartic. The last 2 lines of the song are so poignant – like the final sentences in any final letter you write never expecting (or caring) to get a reply to:

    “Iconography fucks with me. You look great in blood stains.”

    There ya go… cheers.

    -J. Kraley

    Comment by Jason Kraley | December 15, 2009 | Reply

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