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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, 2012 | Virgin Catalogue

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
The first masterpiece of what was only termed trip-hop much later, Blue Lines filtered American hip-hop through the lens of British club culture, a stylish, nocturnal sense of scene that encompassed music from rare groove to dub to dance. The album balances dark, diva-led club jams along the lines of Soul II Soul with some of the best British rap (vocals and production) heard up to that point, occasionally on the same track. The opener "Safe from Harm" is the best example, with diva vocalist Shara Nelson trading off lines with the group's own monotone (yet effective) rapping. Even more than hip-hop or dance, however, dub is the big touchstone on Blue Lines. Most of the productions aren't quite as earthy as you'd expect, but the influence is palpable in the atmospherics of the songs, like the faraway electric piano on "One Love" (with beautiful vocals from the near-legendary Horace Andy). One track, "Five Man Army," makes the dub inspiration explicit, with a clattering percussion line, moderate reverb on the guitar and drums, and Andy's exquisite falsetto flitting over the chorus. Blue Lines isn't all darkness, either -- "Be Thankful for What You've Got" is quite close to the smooth soul tune conjured by its title, and "Unfinished Sympathy" -- the group's first classic production -- is a tremendously moving fusion of up-tempo hip-hop and dancefloor jam with slow-moving, syrupy strings. Flaunting both their range and their tremendously evocative productions, Massive Attack recorded one of the best dance albums of all time. ~ John Bush
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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Records

Booklet Distinctions 3F de Télérama - 4 étoiles Rock and Folk
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Trip Hop - Released August 23, 2019 | Virgin Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Records

Booklet Distinctions 3F de Télérama
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Rap/Hip-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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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 1995 | Circa

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

Booklet
As expected but perhaps not hoped for, Virgin dishes fans this best of, Collected, as Massive Attack are buying time to complete Weather Underground, their next album to be released -- hopefully -- within the calendar year 2006. All collections of this type give punters the chance to look back at what was once futuristic and is now commonplace and how well an act's music has aged. The remainder of the Wild Bunch -- Andrew "Mushroom" Vowles and Grant Grant "Daddy G" Marshall, and Robert "3D" del Naja -- who formed Massive Attack as evidenced by these 13 tracks, all have their place. The cuts are nearly equally divided between the albums Blue Lines, Protection, Mezzanine and 100th Window. None of the soundtrack works appears here, and neither do any 12" mixes. Hits like "Safer from Harm" and "Karmacoma" don't age so well, but others, such as "Inertia Creeps," the sublime "Teardrops," the sinister "Butterfly Caught," the spooky, mercurial love song "What Your Soul Sings," (with Sinéad O'Connor on vocals), and even "Unfinished Sympathy," (with Shara Nelson singing her ass off), do. There is a an unreleased track, a new blues called "Live with Me" that begins with a string intro, a deadly slow rhythm track offered as mid-tempo creep, and the deep soul voice of Terry Callier hovering inside the darkness. He moves from the blues to soul and back again as M.A weave that sorrowful, noir-ish, sonic magic all around him, draping him in atmospheric shadows and snaky beats. Nope, it isn't so new, but music this fine doesn't need to be. This isn't music for kids, or perhaps even for clubs, but it may be for the masses if the masses were given the chance to climb on. This is a fine introduction if you've been sleeping these past 15 years, or have recently come to realize that indie rock is but one color on the spectrum. Massive Attack at their best -- and much of it is here -- were a force to be reckoned with, and "Live with Me," is a hint that they still may be. ~ Thom Jurek
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Electronic/Dance - Released January 1, 2003 | Virgin Records

A new album from Massive Attack is an event, even if only one-third of the original group is present for the festivities. Just the group's fourth album in more than a dozen years, 100th Window marked the departure of Mushroom (permanently, after artistic differences) and Daddy G (temporarily, to raise a family), leaving only one founding member, 3D (Robert del Naja), to muddle along with arranger/producer Neil Davidge (who made his Massive Attack debut on 1998's Mezzanine). Though Del Naja is mostly successful giving the people what they want -- a follow-up to Mezzanine, one of the most compulsive listens of '90s electronica -- it unfortunately comes as a sacrifice to the very thing that made Massive Attack so crucial to dance music: their never-ending progression to a radically different sound with each release. For better or worse, 100th Window has the same crushingly oppressive productions, dark, spiralling basslines, and pile-driving beats instantly familiar to fans of Mezzanine. Fortunately, it also has the same depth and point-perfect attention to detail, making for fascinating listening no matter whether the focus is the songs, the effects, or even the percussion lines. Jamaican crooner Horace Andy is back for a pair of tracks ("Everywhen," "Name Taken") that nearly equal his features on the last record, while Sinéad O'Connor makes her debut with three vocal features. Unlike Liz Fraser or Tracey Thorn (two Massive Attack muses from the past), O'Connor's voice lacks resonance and doesn't reward the close inspection that a Massive Attack production demands. Still, her songwriting is far superior and the slight quaver in her voice adds a much-needed personality to these songs. "A Prayer for England" is a political protest that aligns itself perfectly with the group that coined its name as a satirical nod to military aggression. Another feature for O'Connor, "What Your Soul Sings," is the only song here that compares to the best Massive Attack has to offer, beginning with a harsh, claustrophobic atmosphere, but soon blossoming like a flower into a beautiful song led by her tremulous voice. In comparison, the four songs for 3D are average at best, mere recyclings of the same ideas heard years earlier. That's satisfaction enough for those who kept Mezzanine near their stereo for years on end, but a disappointment to those expecting another masterpiece. ~ John Bush
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Electronic/Dance - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2004 | Virgin Records

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Dance - Released January 1, 2009 | Virgin Records

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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 2005 | Virgin Records

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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 1, 2003 | Virgin Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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Trip Hop - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Records