Albums

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Trip Hop - Released July 6, 1982 | Good Vibes

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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 1994 | Circa

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Massive Attack's sophomore effort could never be as stunning as Blue Lines, and a slight drop in production and songwriting quality made the comparisons easy. Still, from the first two songs Protection sounds worthy of their debut. The opening title track is pure excellence, with melancholy keyboards, throbbing acid lines, and fragmented beats perfectly complementing the transcendent vocals of Tracey Thorn (an inspired choice to replace the departed Shara Nelson as their muse). Tricky, another soon-to-be-solo performer, makes his breakout on this record, with blunted performances on "Karmacoma," another highlight, as well as "Eurochild." But even though the production is just as intriguing as on Blue Lines, there's a bit lacking here -- Massive Attack doesn't summon quite the emotional power they did previously. Guest Craig Armstrong's piano work on the aimless tracks "Weather Storm" and "Heat Miser" leans uncomfortably close to Muzak, and his arrangement and conducting for "Sly" isn't much better (vocals by Nicolette save the track somewhat). Though it's still miles ahead of the growing raft of trip-hop making the rounds in the mid-'90s, Protection is rather a disappointment. ~ John Bush
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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 1995 | Circa

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects

Trip Hop - Released March 7, 1995 | Mark's Music

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Trip Hop - Released January 3, 1996 | Mark's Music

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Trip Hop - Released June 13, 1996 | Spray Records

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Trip Hop - Released August 21, 1996 | Fuego

Trip Hop - Released January 3, 1997 | Mark's Music

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Trip Hop - Released February 13, 1997 | Tosca Productions

Tosca's debut, Opera, ably charts the groovy dark side of blunted trip-hop, with spare hip-hop samples and deep basslines contributing to tracks like "Fuck Dub," "Worksong," and "Chocolate Elvis." ~ Keith Farley
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Trip Hop - Released April 15, 1997 | Epic

The Belgian trio Hooverphonic haphazardly tinkers around with ambient pop on its debut album, A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular. Overall, it's a decent derivation of post-grunge and a healthy sampling of rising trip-hop and ambient electronica during the mid-'90s, so perhaps it's all right for the album itself to experience floppy production. Lead singer Liesje Sadonius is sultry while defining Hooverphonic's signature shoegazer-like vocalics, with almost impressive electronic support from guitarists Alex Callier and Raymond Geerts and keyboardist Frank Duchêne. Debut single "2 Wicky" struts with a mysterious bass drop, and it's Sadonius' sexy vocal charm that fully ties it all together. Other tracks such as "Inhaler" and "Revolver" are moody but danceable, whereas "Nr. 9" blasts with hazy My Bloody Valentine -like distortion. The orchestration is tangled, but the artistic purpose of such musical beauty defines Hooverphonic's initial concept. A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular depicts a glossy confidence, but not sheer enough for a fully enigmatic sound. But that's perfectly fine -- Hooverphonic characterizes its own grace with experimental soundscapes of melodic disarray, but just barely. ~ MacKenzie Wilson
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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 1997 | Go Beat Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
On David Holmes' second album, the first to be released in America, he explores with even greater depth his fascination with original soundtrack material. Recording snippets of conversation on the streets of New York with his DAT recorder, Holmes returned to England and weaved the vocal samples around his amorphous embrace of several electronic styles, including big beat techno of the type favored by the Chemical Brothers, intelligent drum'n'bass (as on the title track), and the gentler soundtrack-feel of ambient-house. The effect created is like that of a soundtrack, and even though Let's Get Killed isn't attached to a film, it flows with energy and grace. ~ John Bush
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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 1998 | Circa

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Increasingly ignored amidst the exploding trip-hop scene, Massive Attack finally returned in 1998 with Mezzanine, a record immediately announcing not only that the group was back, but that they'd recorded a set of songs just as singular and revelatory as on their debut, almost a decade back. It all begins with a stunning one-two-three-four punch: "Angel," "Risingson," "Teardrop," and "Inertia Creeps." Augmenting their samples and keyboards with a studio band, Massive Attack open with "Angel," a stark production featuring pointed beats and a distorted bassline that frames the vocal (by group regular Horace Andy) and a two-minute flame-out with raging guitars. "Risingson" is a dense, dark feature for Massive Attack themselves (on production as well as vocals), with a kitchen sink's worth of dubby effects and reverb. "Teardrop" introduces another genius collaboration -- with Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins -- from a production unit with a knack for recruiting gifted performers. The blend of earthy with ethereal shouldn't work at all, but Massive Attack pull it off in fine fashion. "Inertia Creeps" could well be the highlight, another feature for just the core threesome. With eerie atmospherics, fuzz-tone guitars, and a wealth of effects, the song could well be the best production from the best team of producers the electronic world had ever seen. Obviously, the rest of the album can't compete, but there's certainly no sign of the side-two slump heard on Protection, as both Andy and Fraser return for excellent, mid-tempo tracks ("Man Next Door" and "Black Milk," respectively). ~ John Bush
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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 1998 | Beyond 8 Records

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Trip Hop - Released August 21, 1998 | Fuego

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Trip Hop - Released November 2, 1998 | Phthalo Records

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Trip Hop - Released November 16, 1998 | Virgin Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Trip Hop - Released September 28, 1999 | Sophie Records

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Trip Hop - Released December 7, 1999 | Naive

Trip Hop - Released January 6, 2000 | Integral Records

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Trip Hop - Released March 6, 2000 | !K7 Records

Tosca's second album Suzuki takes a lighter, airier approach to the trip-hop terrain that Opera explored. The spare, shimmering title track's delicate synth textures, minimal beats, mellow rhythms, and breathy vocal samples set the tone for the rest of the album's laid-back tracks. Though "Orozco," "Bass on the Boat," and "Ocean Beat" are more immediate variations on Tosca's relaxed sound, for the most part, Suzuki offers a locked groove of hypnotic, deeply chilled-out epics. ~ Heather Phares

Genre

Trip Hop in the magazine
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