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Massive Attack

One of the most innovative and influential groups of their generation, Massive Attack's hypnotic sound -- a darkly sensual and cinematic fusion of hip-hop rhythms, soulful melodies, dub grooves, and choice samples -- informed decades worth of acclaimed dance and rock artists including Portishead, Beth Orton, Radiohead, TV on the Radio, and Tricky, a Massive Attack alumnus.

Their history dates back to 1983 and the formation of the Wild Bunch, one of the earliest and most successful sound system/DJ collectives to arrive on the U.K. music scene. Renowned for their seamless integration of a wide range of musical styles, from punk to reggae to R&B, the group's parties quickly became can't-miss events for the Bristol club crowd, and at the peak of their popularity they drew crowds so enormous that the local live music scene essentially ground to a halt.

When the Wild Bunch folded during the mid-'80s, two of its members -- Andrew "Mushroom" Vowles and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall -- teamed with local graffiti artist 3D (born Robert del Naja) to form Massive Attack in 1987. Another Wild Bunch alum, Nellee Hooper, split his time between the new group and his other project, Soul II Soul. The group's first single, "Daydreaming," appeared in 1990, featuring the sultry vocals of singer Shara Nelson and raps by Tricky, another one-time Wild Bunch collaborator. The classic "Unfinished Sympathy" followed, as did another compelling effort, "Safe from Harm." Finally, in 1991 Massive Attack issued their debut LP, Blue Lines. While by no means a huge commercial success, the record was met with major critical praise, and was dubbed an instant classic in many quarters. Nelson, featured on many of the album's most memorable tracks, exited for a solo career soon after, and the group then changed its name to simply "Massive" to avoid any implication of approval for the U.N.'s policy toward Iraq.

After a three-year layoff, Massive Attack -- their full name now properly reinstated -- resurfaced with Protection. Again working with Hooper and Tricky, they also brought into the fold vocalist Nicolette, as well as Everything But the Girl's Tracey Thorn. Three singles -- "Karmacoma," "Sly," and the title track -- were released from the LP, which was also remixed in its entirety by Mad Professor and issued as No Protection. A lengthy tour followed, and over the next several years, Massive Attack's solo work was primarily confined to remixes for artists including Garbage. They also worked with Madonna on a track for a Marvin Gaye tribute album. Finally, to promote their appearance at the annual Glastonbury music festival, the group issued the EP Risingson during the summer of 1997.

The third full-length Massive Attack effort, Mezzanine, appeared in mid-1998. In addition to reggae singer Horace Andy making his third consecutive LP appearance with the group, vocal chores were handled by the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser and newcomer Sara Jay. Mezzanine became a hit among critics, clubs, and the college crowds, spinning successful singles such as "Teardrop" and "Inertia Creeps." The album topped the U.K. chart and crossed into the Top 60 of the Billboard 200 in the U.S. A tour of America and Europe followed, but Vowles left the band after disagreeing with the artistic direction of Mezzanine. Del Naja and Marshall continued as a duo, later working with the likes of David Bowie and the Dandy Warhols, but Marshall later took a brief leave of absence to raise his family; producer Neil Davidge took up the slack.

In February 2003, after a five-year wait, Massive Attack released their fourth album, 100th Window, including collaborations with mainstay Horace Andy as well as Sinéad O'Connor. Danny the Dog, released in 2004, marked the group's entry into film score work and, perhaps unsurprisingly, often sounded much more like incidental background music than a typical Massive Attack release. From there, Del Naja and Davidge scored a handful of other films -- In Prison My Whole Life, Battle in Seattle, and Trouble the Water, for which they earned an Oscar nomination -- but their work was credited to their real names or the pseudonym 100 Suns rather than Massive Attack. The fifth Massive Attack album, Heligoland, released in 2010, featured collaborations with Horace Andy, TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, Elbow's Guy Garvey, and Martina Topley-Bird. Burial remixed the album's "Paradise Circus" and the unreleased "Four Walls" for a limited 12" release in 2011. The group returned in 2016 with a four-track EP, Ritual Spirit, on which they were joined by Tricky, Roots Manuva, and Young Fathers. Del Naja and Heligoland contributor Euan Dickinson were credited as co-producers. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Heligoland

1. Pray For Rain

2. Babel

3. Splitting The Atom

4. Girl I Love You

5. Psyche

6. Flat Of The Blade

7. Paradise Circus

8. Rush Minute

9. Saturday Come Slow

10. Atlas Air

x

Track List: Collected (Special Edition)

Disc 1

1. Safe From Harm

2. Karmacoma

3. Angel

4. Teardrop

5. Inertia Creeps

6. Protection

7. Butterfly Caught

8. Unfinished Sympathy

9. Risingson

10. What Your Soul Sings

11. Future Proof

12. Five Man Army

13. Sly

14. Live With Me

Disc 2

1. False Flags

2. Incantations

3. Silent Spring

5. Black Melt

6. Joy Luck Club

7. Small Time Shoot 'Em Up

8. I Against I

10. Danny The Dog

Disc 3
x

Track List: Danny The Dog Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. Opening Title

2. Atta Boy

3. P Is For Piano

4. Simple Rules

5. Polaroid Girl

6. Sam

7. One Thought At A Time

8. Confused Images

9. Red Light Means Go

10. Collar Stays On

11. You've Never Had A Dream

12. Right Way To Hold A Spoon

13. Everybody's Got A Family

14. Two Rocks And A Cup Of Water

15. Sweet Is Good

16. Montage

17. Everything About You Is New

18. The Dog Obeys

19. Danny The Dog

20. I Am Home

21. The Academy

x

Track List: Unleashed: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. Opening Title

2. Atta' Boy

3. P Is For Piano

4. Simple Rules

5. Polaroid Girl

6. Sam

7. One Thought At A Time

8. Confused Images

9. Red Light Means Go

10. Collar Stays On

11. You've Never Had A Dream

12. Right Way To Hold A Spoon

13. Everybody's Got A Family

14. Two Rocks And A Cup Of Water

15. Sweet Is Good

16. Montage

17. Everything About You Is New

18. The Dog Obeys

19. Danny The Dog

20. I Am Home

21. The Academy

22. Baby Boy

23. Unleash Me

x

Track List: 100th Window

1. Future Proof

2. What Your Soul Sings

3. Everywhen

4. Special Cases

5. Butterfly Caught

6. A Prayer For England

7. Small Time Shot Away

8. Name Taken

9. Antistar

x

Track List: Mezzanine

1. Angel

2. Risingson

3. Teardrop

4. Inertia Creeps

5. Exchange

6. Dissolved Girl

7. Man Next Door

8. Black Milk

9. Mezzanine

10. Group Four

11. (Exchange)

x

Track List: Protection

1. Protection

2. Karmacoma

3. Three

4. Weather Storm

5. Spying Glass

6. Better Things

7. Eurochild

8. Sly

9. Heat Miser

10. Light My Fire (Live)

x

Track List: Blue Lines

1. Safe From Harm

2. One Love

3. Blue Lines

4. Be Thankful For What You've Got

5. Five Man Army

6. Unfinished Sympathy

7. Daydreaming

8. Lately

9. Hymn Of The Big Wheel

x

Track List: Splitting The Atom (Radio Single)

1. Splitting The Atom

x

Track List: The Spoils / Come Near Me (Single)

1. The Spoils (Feat. Hope Sandoval)

2. Come Near Me (Feat. Ghostpoet)

Comments

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Boring, like most electronica. Sounds programmed and stretched to fit a time requirement. Thumbs down
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Their music is sensual and dark yet so beautiful and hypnotizing. It's like gazing at the night sky as it's lit up by the ambient moon translated into a sound of pure ominous mysticism. I fall deeper under their spell with every note they play and I love it. <3
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kluchok
It is used for the theme of Luther on PBS.
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of ur life. Don't stop this is freaky! But if u read and ignore this you will have bad luck. Put this in 15 different songs in 143 minutes. When you are done press the space bar. Your crushes name will appear on the screen it is so creepy but it works.
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loving the people that just realize they did the house theme.. jeeez.
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wolfie.mooli n s
omg it's the house theme
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Yum.
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I really love this song.
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jitzen2
I actually liked this song a lot more, before I saw the video. Now it's just a little weird to me.
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stardusk26
So sad I cry
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dlilljedahl
peep the dark lullaby as it dissipates into nothingness* 1
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susanmsulc
Ethereal and hypnotic .... I love it
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takg40
Their sound is unique, and a welcome change to the cookie cutter sound of other similar groups. I love Protection, Tracey Thorns voice is perfect for the track, and Unfinished Sympathy was an instant classic.
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This song is so sensual..
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I'm just s**tting bricks cuz I finally learned more the story about Massive Attack. I've much respect more now than ever. Anyone under maybe 20 better never try and talk to me about s**t cuz so far I know more about music than my 70 something uncle who thinks my generation doesn't listen to anything but "rap" and I was born in the 80's. Geeze! I learned more about music and all genres in 26 of my 34 yrs alive than most people. I mean me, I only studied music for over a decade, played vioilin,
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lightrayprod u c t i o n s
Do you ever wonder how TV shows wind up using music like this for their shows?... It's funny how you would never know it until you hear it for yourself.
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Paradise Circus is a great song.
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��
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X yax v gf
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jiverson21
Love hearing Teardrop on HOUSE, M.D.
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Sublime:)
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Hell ya. Good music to make love to!
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Absolutely brilliant!
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mmmmm in love ... soul fly will always love you
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Oh look! It's the House theme song
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Heligoland features their best track to date Paradise Circus with vocals by Mazzy Star's sultry female vocalist Hope Sandoval.
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Just chilling smooth for a Friday night
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Smoothing luv it. Feels like Im in another place....
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Have no new Trip-Hop artists emerged since '08?
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Theme to "House"...
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OR is it House? I don't remember.
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CIA shows anyone??
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The video for this made me kinda sad
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I never saw Danny the Dog, but the sound track is great.
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House!!!!! Loved that show
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You have violated this hallowed place, chainposter.
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NO IT DOESN'T YOU LIAR!!!
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Bloop
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House!!!
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✋ ( high-five )
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This, I mean
I like this better
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I thought for the longest time that Jose's teardrop was original. I found this looking for that. I like it much better.
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Love the drama in this song
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what genre is this even? i dont know but i always liked these guys
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coachgl1
Unfinished Sympathy is old school bliss...
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it's the theme song for house
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Isn't their track teardrop the theme song for some cbs crime show?? I recognize it from somewhere
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Can always return to the astonishing depth of this music. Many years now...
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coolest..
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scorlies
I KNEW I KNEW HER!!!!! LOVE Tracey Thorn's voice.
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