Massive Attack

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Massive Attack

Background information
Origin Bristol, England, UK
Genre(s) Trip hop, electronica, soul,
new wave, soundtrack
Years active 1988–present
Label(s) EMI
Associated acts The Wild Bunch
Robert "3D" Del Naja ("D")
Grantley "Daddy G" Marshall ("G")
Former members
Andrew "Mushroom" Vowles ("Mush")

Massive Attack are a British trip hop group. Their name comes from an '80s warehouse party they were fond of going to. Founded in approximately 1988 by DJ's Grantley Marshall, Andrew Vowles and MC Robert Del Naja in Bristol, England, UK, they signed to Circa records in 1990, an imprint of Virgin records that would be later bought by EMI, to release 6 studio albums and a "Best Of". The trio were together prior to the formation of this band, as part of The Wild Bunch. With the release of their debut album Blue Lines in 1991, Massive Attack were critically acclaimed for their fusion of jazz, hip hop, rock, and soul elements into a style that journalists in the mid-nineties dubbed trip hop. Grantley Marshall has expressed intense dislike of the term 'trip-hop' and it is perhaps not as favoured and respected a term in the United Kingdom as it is in other parts of the world. With the release of later studio albums Protection in 1994, Mezzanine in 1998, and Robert Del Naja's effectively solo 100th Window in 2003, Massive's sound had a greater degree of post-punk guitar texture and soundtrack-like electronica integrated into it. Andrew Vowles reluctantly left Massive Attack in 1999. For all intents and purposes, Grantley Marshall temporarily left, in a studio capacity, between 2001-2004. The group also started a record label, Melankolic, in 1995, as an imprint of Virgin [EMI], that folded in 2001. Over the decades, the Bristol collective have collaborated with Madonna, David Bowie, Neneh Cherry, [1] Mos Def and [2] Sinéad O'Connor among many others. Horace Andy has featured on every one of their studio albums.


[edit] History

[edit] 1980s

Massive Attack began as an offshoot of the popular mid-1980s sound system The Wild Bunch. The core group consisted of three members, Robert Del Naja ("3D"), Grant Marshall ("Daddy G") and Andrew Vowles ("Mushroom"), along with occasional Wild Bunch collaborator (and also Del Naja's roommate) Tricky. In 1988 they released their first single "Any Love", followed in 1991 by their first album, Blue Lines, featuring the hit singles "Unfinished Sympathy" and "Safe From Harm", both featuring Shara Nelson. The album, which was produced by Cameron McVey, was well-received both critically and commercially. Blue Lines subsequently became one of the most influential British records of the 1990s, ushering in a new genre of music sometimes referred to as the 'Bristol sound', but more often labeled trip-hop, a label Massive Attack have said they dislike.[citation needed] Despite the use of breakbeats, samples, and rap courtesy of Tricky, "Blue Lines" is distinct stylistically from American hip-hop. The music is more complex, layered, and atmospheric, earning the designation of trip-hop, with its unique British tone and aesthetic[3] The group were prominent in the 1980s Bristol club scene, and are considered pioneers of trip-hop.[4]

[edit] 1990s

During the first Gulf War the band temporarily changed their name to Massive after pressure from their label, to avoid implying support of the attack on Iraq.[5] In 1994, Massive Attack released their follow-up album, Protection, an album that featured two string instrumentals arranged by Craig Armstrong. This marked Tricky's last collaboration with Massive Attack, as he chose to concentrate wholly on his solo career. Tricky used lyrics from other songs (chronologically before and after the album's release) at some points during the recording. Several of the lyrics from "Karmacoma" shared between Tricky and 3D were later sung by Martina Topley-Bird on Tricky's single "Overcome". On "Eurochild", Tricky borrowed lyrics from "Blank Expression" by The Specials. Two songs ("Protection" and "Better Things") feature Everything But The Girl vocalist Tracey Thorn, whom the band collaborated with on a remake of The Marvelettes' hit "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game" for the Batman Forever soundtrack. In 1996, the band won a BRIT Award for "best dance act". One year later, the group contributed to the movie soundtrack of The Jackal, recording "Superpredators (Metal Postcard)", a number containing a sample of Siouxsie and the Banshees.[6]

Massive Attack's third album, Mezzanine, was released in 1998. With Mezzanine, the band moved to a darker, tense sound filled with distorted guitars and a combination of drum machines and live percussion that, with the exception of Mushroom-led track 'Exchange / [Exchange]' lacked the laid-back, jazzy nature they had occasionally shown in previous albums. Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins sang lead vocals on three tracks. Andy "Mushroom" Vowles, having become increasingly dissatisfied with the direction of the group to the point where it was felt he was intolerable to work with, reluctantly left in the autumn of 1999. Their producer Neil Davidge, who worked with Del Naja for much of his material on Mezzanine took on an even more central role. The release of Mezzanine also led to a change in Massive Attack's live show. In addition to their previous simple set up of a few mics and turntables, the group began incorporating more and more live instrumentation into their shows. In addition to their usual numerous guest vocalists, the trio were now being joined on stage by a live guitarist, bassist, drummer, and keyboard player, as well as a video screen and lighting effects from United Visual Artists. Two tracks from this album appeared in motion pictures. One is the track "Angel," which is included in the movies Pi,[7], Stay, Snatch, Antitrust and Flight of the Phoenix. In the film Go, "Angel" is played at high volume by the drug dealer Todd as he searches Ronna for a hidden microphone, but the song is not included in the soundtrack,the song was also included in the opening credits of the movie:"Firewall". In the movie The Matrix, the track "Dissolved Girl," which was co-written by Sarah Jay (featured vocalist) and Matt Schwartz is playing through Neo's headphones as he sleeps passed out in front of his computer. The song is listed in the movie's credits but does not appear on the soundtrack.[8] "Angel" was used in the hit drama The West Wing Episode Commencement during the ending scenes at the night club when Zoe is kidnapped as well as an early episode of the NBC series Third Watch.

[edit] 2000s

Massive Attack's fourth album, 100th Window, which was recorded without Marshall, was released in early 2003. It entered the Top 10 at Number 1 in the UK. In 2004, Massive Attack, without Grant Marshall, released an instrumental soundtrack for the feature film Danny the Dog, which was produced by Luc Besson. The film's title was changed to Unleashed prior to the American release, though the album was initially released under the original title as it came out months before the film. 2005 saw Neil Davidge and Robert Del Naja contribute another soundtrack, this time for the feature film Bullet Boy. Also in 2006, the band released a greatest hits compilation, Collected. The two-disc set includes selected tracks from their studio albums, some rare singles, and two new tracks. The DVD layer of the second disc also contains all the group’s music videos to date. Massive Attack also returned to the studio to work on material for their next record. Of the three original members, Del Naja and Marshall have returned to record the group’s fifth studio album. Del Naja will be in one studio with producer Neil Davidge, and Marshall will be working from his own studio on the other side of Bristol. On the other side of the Atlantic, their song "Teardrop" was used in North America as the theme to the Fox TV series House, MD. "Teardrop" has lyrics, sung by guest vocalist Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins; however, the version used in the opening credits uses only the beginning and ending sections, which are instrumental; "Teardrop" is also used in a season 1 episode of Prison Break titled "Tonight," where again only the beginning and ending sections are used.

2007 saw Neil Davidge and Robert Del Naja produce scores for the three films, In Prison My Whole Life, Battle In Seattle and Trouble the Water. In early 2008, Del Naja, with Davidge and Euan Dickinson, composed the track "Herculaneum" for the end credits of Matteo Garrone's film Gomorra. In the summer of 2008, Massive Attack toured with seven new potential songs for their next album and curated Meltdown festival in May[9]. In November 2008, Massive Attack's longtime producer, Neil Davidge finished the soundtrack to Paul McGuigan movie, Push.

During November and December 2008, Robert Del Naja worked on the soundtrack for movie 44 Inch Chest with Bristolian TV/film music production duo, The Insects.

The group are continuing to work on their long-awaited fifth studio album, notionally referred to as 'LP5'.

Over November and December, Del Naja and Marshall worked with Damon Albarn at his studios, with Albarn adding elements to the existing material and starting a few new tracks which may feature on the record.

Currently, Massive Attack's producer, Neil Davidge has been steering the group towards a target of having the album mixed by the end of April, anticipating an autumn release through EMI. Usually EMI insist on 6-months promotional lead-time for their records, but it felt that this could be shortened in Massive Attack's case. There has been some speculation around an internet-based release and a limited edition physical one.

Long-time fans of the group will be aware of the notorious number of ignored deadlines over the past few years - the relatively speedy release of 'Best Of' Collected in 2006 was, in part, justified by the notion of it ushering in a new studio album just one year later. Their curation of the 2008 Meltdown festival was also expected to catalyse the finishing of the record. Taking this into account some fans suspect a release in the 2010's as more likely.

However, each album release has been delayed by roughly one year longer than the last, and on that basis, 2009 is expected to be the year of delivery.

The band have been confirmed to headline the 2009 Bestival[10] and it is expected that this date is to tie-in or herald some new material.

[edit] Guest Vocalists

[edit] Blue Lines

  • Shara Nelson [Safe From Harm, Unfinished Sympathy, Daydreaming, Lately]
  • Horace Andy [One Love, Five Man Army, Hymn of the Big Wheel]
  • Tricky [Blue Lines, Five Man Army, Daydreaming]
  • Claude Williams or "Willie Wee" [Five Man Army]
  • Neneh Cherry [BV's on Hymn of the Big Wheel]
  • Tony Bryan [Be Thankful For What You've Got]

[edit] Protection

[edit] Mezzanine

[edit] 100th Window

[edit] Other Massive Attack releases

  • Carlton McCarthy (on "Any Love", the original, independently-released single of 1988)
  • Tony Bryan (other versions of "Any Love")
  • Caroline Lavelle (on "Home of the Whale" from the Massive Attack EP)
  • Tracey Thorn (on "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" from the Batman Forever soundtrack)
  • Madonna (on "I Want You" from the Marvin Gaye Tribute album and Collected)
  • Sarah Jay (on "Wire" from the end titles of Welcome To Sarajevo, never released)
  • Elizabeth Fraser (on "Silent Spring" and "Black Melt" from Collected)
  • David Bowie (on "Nature Boy" from the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack)
  • Mos Def (on "I Against I" from the Blade 2 soundtrack and Collected)
  • Dot Allison (on "Aftersun" from the end titles of Danny The Dog/Unleashed, never released)
  • Debbie Clare (on "Joy Luck Club" from Collected)
  • Terry Callier (on "Live With Me" from Collected)

[edit] "LP5" Vocalists speculation

"LP5" has been the notional, working or 'placeholder' title for the fifth studio album from Massive Attack since 2003 and is not expected to be the final choice of name, moreover the "title will not be Weather Underground as previously reported" [11]

Robert Del Naja aka 3D or "D", Grantley Marshall aka Daddy G or "G" and Horace Andy are expected to feature as vocalists.

Various others are being considered for "LP5", and at this time it is not public knowledge as to whether any of the following mooted artists are to feature: Stephanie Dosen and Yolanda from Phantom Limb [a band comprising Bristolian production duo, Robot Club, that Grantley developed tracks with initially, away from Robert and Neil's '100 Suns' studios] - both of whom have toured with the group most recently, Elbow's Guy Garvey and Damon Albarn - both of whom have functioned as co-writers towards the album and Jhelisa Anderson [recorded unused material with 3D for the 100th Window sessions, but has been in the studio with the group briefly in 2008 and again in 2009], it is presumed that her style of vocals will more suit the direction of this particular record.

Other singers have been speculated upon and the following are thought to be less likely to feature: trip-hop ethereal vocal archetype, Elizabeth Fraser [thought to want to just focus on finishing her own solo record, 11 years in the making], TV On The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe [recorded a song towards "LP5" in 2005], Mike Patton [Massive Attack co-produced some of his tracks], Mos Def [collaborated on 'I Against I' for Blade 2 soundtrack], Dot Allison [who has recorded material with Massive Attack around the Danny the Dog/Unleashed period] and Fredo Viola [an artist recommended and managed by Massive Attack's manager whom they recorded with in 2005] as well as a number of artists "G" is thought, from numerous Collected-era interviews, to have approached with demo backing tracks - soul chanteuse, Alice Russell, folk icons Patti Smith and Hope Sandoval, and David Bowie [Robert Del Naja, with Neil Davidge, previously having had remotely collaborated with him, as Massive Attack, for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack].

Even Tom Waits and Tricky have been mentioned as in the frame for "LP5", but these collaborations are thought to be least likely and not to have not reached backing track stage. Finally, Sia has been reported as having worked with the group on a number of websites.

[edit] Discography

[edit] Studio Albums

[edit] Other

[edit] References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Schwartz, Mark. "Planet Rock: Hip Hop Supa National." In The Vibe History of Hip-hop, ed. Alan Light, 361-72. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999.
  4. ^ Massive Attack Lyrics, Photos, Pictures, Paroles, Letras, Text for every songs
  5. ^ BBC News, 27 February 2003
  6. ^ Massive Attack Copyright of the song "Superpredators". Based on the track "Metal Postcard" from the Siouxsie & the Banshees'album The Scream.
  7. ^ IMDB entry for the movie Pi
  8. ^ [1] The IMBD sountrack entry for The Matrix, includes credit for "Dissolved Girl."
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Bestival Line Up Announced". MTV One. 2009-02-27. Retrieved on 2009-03-03. 
  11. ^
  12. ^

[edit] External links

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