Massive Attack this weekend; who I consider one of the game-changer bands of the 90s; a group of artists casually labeled Trip-Hop, but who extend far beyond that to shape and influence Modern Pop Music throughout the 90s and well into the present.
Hard to imagine they’ve been at it since 1986 – but since they have maintained a level of freshness and spontaneity, they are timeless. That are, at once a completely enveloping musical experience – one that maintains a consistent level live and in the studio – each setting on its own terms. The soundscape and ethereal atmosphere mixed with stone-cold reality is what seizes the imagination and takes you on the journey. That they are politically and socially active makes perfect sense, and is almost a necessity – as their music isn’t passive – isn’t something you take or leave – not something you put on in the background and go about your chores. This is music of immediacy, of anger and of solution. This is the essence of what socially conscious music and message are all about – no half-measures, no mediocrity – all up-front with no excuses. The only demand is that you listen – but it’s done out of love, and that’s the big difference between what Massive Attack do and what many others try to do.
I was first turned on to Massive Attack via Q Magazine around 1992 and I’ve been a fan ever since. I have considered them game-changers because they have shaken up the restrictions and created a new playing field.
I suspect there are a lot of you out there who aren’t familiar with them, or maybe known them via soundtracks to films and TV and haven’t really had a chance to dive into their work. Here’s a place to start – an early place, and admittedly with not as good a sound mix as their Paris concert I ran of a few years ago via RFI. But definitely worth taking the time and giving it your attention.
Massive Attack are an important band – they’ve been essential for over 20 years – they are doing something very right.