Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Portishead, DJ Andy Smith

Fans of old genres lost, reunite. Trip hop, or some new media-empowered tag that equates it, is back. More accurately, the queen of the scene, nee Beth Gibbons, and her partner in crime, beat extraordinaire of trippy and headnoddish fodder, Geoff Barrows. What's that you say? Massive Attack is the reigning king of trip hop? I'll allow you that opinion. But in my world, Portishead rules the rainy days.

In any event, this is hardly the trip hop of the 90s. This album walks a path which sometimes crosses the one which leads back to their classic first album Dummy, and it walks near the path which goes to their second, Portishead. But it's winding and there are more hills which lead us up, up, up, ["We Carry On", "Machine Gun"] before the comedown, down, down. We eventually meet up with the Dummy path once again, and stop and walk in the grass before lying down on our backs and finishing it by injecting ourselves with the old Portishead we know ["Threads"].

I offer my immediate favorite, the opening track. A perfect opener, "Silence" climaxes at its abrupt ending when it surprises us with.. silence. "We Carry On" is strong, driven by a bleepy, Detroity beat and frenetic drumming, it gaining energy all the way through. "The Rip" is simply nice. Starts acoustic, picks up in the middle with some organ fun.

Third comes out 29 April. It'll also be available as box set with other goodies, says Pitchfork. Hear parts of it here and now, as I get my gloom and depress on when it's finally sunny outside here in Madison.


If we're lucky, P-head will come here and if I'm lucky, they'll have their tour DJ Andy Smith in tow. Smith is one of my all-time favorite DJs; a master of all things with a beat, whether funk, reggae, jazz, hip hop or otherwise. He is in my mind one of the first mash-up artists, and has the best series of mix CDs going [although they haven't been going for a few years]. It all started with this:

I played this 45-minute masterpiece of mixology non-stop in my car and everywhere else for a couple years straight. And then it resurfaced again a couple years ago and I couldn't stop listening to it. The man fuses and blends The Jungle Brothers, Jeru the Damaja, The Meters, James Gang, Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Tom Jones, Grandmaster Flash and more into one symphony of funk, and it all sounds perfectly natural, perfectly normal, and perfectly sublime. Check out and stream or download some of his other mixes here and here. Purchase from Amazon.


Portishead music, from upcoming album, Third.
"We Carry On"
"The Rip"
Go get the first single, "Machine Gun" from any of the other hundreds of blogs offering it.

Thanks for reading.


edited: I simply cannot stop listening to "Threads" and it's 60 seconds of foghorn zounds at the end. I almost didn't post this track. Very glad I did. Simply. Fucking. Marvelous. Get it now.


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