Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Mezzanine (1998)

I never understood the fuss about Massive Attack's first album but I understand it about this one, which I will just climb out on a limb and call their best (even though I haven't heard the new one yet). This misapprehension of mine, if that's what it is, may or may not be related to my generally fuzzy understanding of the term "trip hop." I can say with some confidence that I adore just about everything Portishead has done, at least appreciate Tricky, and certainly find the goings-on here nothing less than divine. The textures are deceptively thick and dense, like smoke, with throbbing, menacing beats, strange noises in the distance, sheets and layers of sonics, and relentless, persistent atmospherics like orange-tipped hallucinations in the dark. This features Horace Andy like I've never known him before, and Elizabeth Fraser as we've always known her. The mood is somber, but elevating—going up. Higher and higher. And the beastly things stalk these sounds, I don't know what they are (not Manfred Mann, I assure you), but I'm sure people must be dancing to them still, probably even somewhere today. Right at this very moment. After all, it's always 2 a.m. somewhere.


  1. i always thought that joining blue lines and protection you could have a great album: wonderful tracks and others not so good in both albums.
    mezzanine instead is good from start to the end

  2. That sounds right to me. I know Protection has its partisans too. Probably Blue Lines is regarded so well because it more or less points the way.