Ritual Spirit (ep)
Melankolic Recordings Limited
This brand new EP by Massive Attack is only four songs – but it offers so much more, it comes as part of an announcement of a bevy of new music, another EP to follow and a full-lengther straight after that. It’s a big statement – in concept. It’s also significant because all four tracks feature a different collaboration, re-establishing the Massive Attack brand and within that 3D as tastemaker/producer.
The opening cut, Dead Editors, features an on-form Roots Manuva. Hey, he’s usually (almost always) on form, but that hasn’t stopped some of his albums from being a bit boring. Here, what works is the sonic drive behind him, similar to his work with Leftfield from more than a decade ago. An urgency – and as with the best of Massive Attack’s Mezzanine (their last truly significant statement) there’s a hint of menace.
That lurking feeling, that slow-winding creep, is even more dramatic on the title track, which features Azekel.
The closest this EP comes to filler is Voodoo In My Blood – a collaboration with Young Fathers. But this is no dud track the weakest offering on a stunning wee four-track marvel. Here we have hints of the Vince Staples version of hip-hop, which is fitting given the Tricky-led Massive Attack (and then on through Tricky’s solo albums) was something of an antecedent for Staples.
The closer is the track on this EP that will generate the most discussion I’m sure. Tricky back with the band – Take It There features 3D and Tricky trading ideas and lines, the wonky, woozy world of Tricky that informed grime and trip-hop (even elements of dubstep) is here once again, but it’s the brightness that 3D offers that elevates this from just another Tricky track.
It’s too slight (4 songs – running in under 20 minutes) but as a sign of (further) things to come this is enticing, intriguing and most definitely exciting. There’s a promise offered here…hope for what comes next and a welcome return.