Trip Hop Resuscitated: the Shaky Return of Portishead

I used to listen to Portished’s Dummy and the self titled second album almost everyday at one point for an extended time (3-6 months at least) during the late 1990’s. Thanks to their mainstreaming (I think I first heard Dummy at a Banana Republic or something), I was introduced to electronic music made after 1992, at least electronic music that wasn’t on the soundtrack to The Saint (with Val Kilmer? Remember?). 

I unabashadely miss trip hop and the genre’s derivatives, which I Portishead falls into (purists would argue they are kind of trip hop-lite). As done best by Massive Attack and Coldcut, trip hop was not quite blippy enough to be IDM, too detached and rock-phobic to be called shoe-gaze, and far too pretty to  hold a candle to drum n’bass’s intensity (a genre which was trip hop’s sister-in-sampling). And it was the great easy listening hope of high-minded Public Enemy, Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine fans alike, and uh, well, people who watched a lot of Twin Peaks. It was also very coffee shop friendly. And it’s GREAT make-out music (ten years later, I still claim, hands down, that Massive Attack’s Mezzanine is the best get-frisky album of all time).

I am listening to the new Portishead album Third right now, which has leaked on the Internet and is officially released in US on April 29th. I’m not sure what I think (I’m trying to remember the the 90’s and all I can think of is Tank Girl and Juliana Hatfield ) but I will say it features tracks that are both far more spirited AND stripped down than the prior two albums.

Beth Gibbons still sounds Enya-esque, but against machine gunfire drilling. Hence “Machine Gun,” the first single.


One response to “Trip Hop Resuscitated: the Shaky Return of Portishead

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Albums, Music of The Year, Romantic Thoughts and More! Yeah! « S.N.O.B

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