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ONE WAY Recommends [Issue #2]
Massive Attack
By Steve Mellano

100th Window (CD Virgin)

There was something strangely appropriate about listening to the latest Massive Attack album for the first time in the silent movie theater in L.A. As I sat in my seat and contemplated the irony of the context for this event, it became clear to me: with this group from Bristol, England, nothing is as you might expect. 100th Window is no different. Each release from the architects of trip-hop pushes the envelope of languid electronica in some way, sometimes subtle, always noticeable. But in the end, the mesmerizing result remains easily identifiable as Massive Attack. Members of the group come and go from album to album, as do the female singers whose guest vocals provide a touch of femininity to the often hardened undercurrent of their aural landscapes. Here the meticulously constructed music is almost entirely the work of Robert “3D” Del Naja (one of Massive Attack’s three founding members – Mushroom has permanently left the band and Daddy G has taken a sabbatical to raise a family), who employs the unequivocal Sinèad O’Connor for three songs. Her beaten yet unrelenting voice empowers his haunting productions with a sense of melancholic urgency.

Unlike the group’s last album, Mezzanine, whose sublime existence is easily digested upon first listen, 100th Window may take a few sittings before you can grasp its complex art. And even then, you still might not fully appreciate the technical effort involved. What you assumed to simply be the working of a synthesizer is actually a live instrument, yet one whose sounds have been squeezed through the circuitry of a computer program and edited to meet the demands of Del Naja.

Some have described their music as being cinematic, perfectly suited for the subtle intensity of a brooding, indie thriller. I tend to agree, but go one step further. For those of you who always wanted a soundtrack to accompany you in your nightlife, 100th Window is a brilliant choice for those darker, more silent moments.

 

 


Massive Attack 100th Window


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