Sunday, June 1, 2008
Some of those people have to live that life, for real I don't have to, I got a record deal
-- Tricky "For Real"
One of the best advance CDs I ever got in the mail came to me in 1993. It was a compact disc with a copy of "Aftermath," the first single by Tricky -- who at that time was featured performer with Massive Attack. It was so amazing that I played it over and put it on a dozen or more mixtapes for friends. It had that moody Bristol groove that both MA and Portishead exploited, but it was more jagged and adventurous.
It was almost two years before his finished debut -- Maxinquaye -- was released. I'd venture that it's my favorite record of the 1990s, and along with PJ Harvey's Dry, the best debut record of that decade. Since then, I've been interested in just about everything that Tricky has done -- through the highlights (Juxtapose and its brilliant lead single, "For Real," Nearly God, Pre-Millennium Tension) and lowlights (the last two records, Blowback and Vulnerable).
So it's with great anticipation that news of a new Tricky project has arrived, with a web site: Knowle West Boy. It's out in early July in Europe, but those of us in the US need to wait until September. The first single, "Council Estate," is a gritty percussive track that shows off what Tricky does best -- melting down and reshaping genres from grime, punk and trip-hop into something utterly compelling. (And can you find the Portishead sample?)
You can see "Council Estate" and stream selected tracks from Knowle West Boy at album's website. (Mix heads can also download the makings of their own remixes of "Council Estate.") You can also catch two recent live performances that Tricky did on Jools Holland's BBC series at the site. By all appearances it's a startling return to form after a couple of uneven records. As the single says: This boy's remembered he's a superstar.