Sunday, February 28, 2010


Massive Attack
8.2 out of 10

It's been almost 7 years since Massive Attack's last full release 100th Window and that release was technically a 3D solo album, due to the complete departure of Mushroom (because of artistic differences) and the temporary departure of Daddy G (to raise a family). 100th Window found 3D in a bit of a holding pattern, not transcending the brilliance of Mezzanine, but not replicating it either. Most of the tracks seemed to meander with no direction and I wondered if Massive Attack would ever be able to regain their footing. Now with 3D and Daddy G back in the Massive Attack fold together, they have released Heligoland, and it is interesting listen, owing to the wane in the popularity of trip-hop and the rise of genres such as dubstep.

Heligoland is not a leap forward as most of Massive Attack cds have been. This isn't the brilliant trip-hop manifesto that Blue Lines heralded, nor is it the tense, paranoid futurescape that Mezzanine portended. But neither is it the unsure Protection or the stilted 100th Window. It is clearly a work by a band unsure of where it wants to go, however, the majority of the release holds up to Massive Attack's best material and thus is the reason why I have scored it as high as I have.

One of the most striking things about Heligoland is how organic it sounds. Mezzanine and 100th Window were highly produced, utilizing start of the art electronics and effects, whereas here, Massive Attack use more traditional sounding drums, pianos, strings and woodwinds. This forms a more natural backbone for the tight production.

The cd begins with the stately "Pray for Rain" with TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe on vocals which showcases this new organic sound with dark, ominous piano fills, and almost military sounding percussion:

Massive Attack are known for their exquisite taste in using outside vocalists on their releases. While there is nothing here that transcends the brilliance of their collaborations with Shara Nelson, Tracey Thorn, and Elizabeth Frazer, the almost loose quality of the collaborations ends up feeling very cohesive and family-like.

My favorite collaborations are with Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval on the gorgeous and haunting "Paradise Circus":

The abstract, beat-laden "Flat of the Blade" with Guy Garvey of Elbow.

And "Saturday Comes Slow" with one of Damon Albarn's most beautiful vocals:

Heligoland is a slow burning cd that takes time to get it's claws into you. While it will not be my favorite Massive Attack cd, it has slowly risen to a high place in their canon for me. Though it feels like a stop-gap cd before they decide what direction to take next, there is enough creativity and newness to allow it to breathe and feel more forward-moving.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Non Sequiturs

New year and jobs are nowhere to be found. Had two projects get cancelled on me, so scrambling to find something. Last year, I only was out of work for maybe a week or five days at the most, while this year, I have only worked about 5 days. Tired of all this, but nothing much I can do except keep looking. Never thought I would be turning 40 and having to stress out about a job.

Speaking of turning 40, the big event happens on Tuesday. I am not upset about turning 40; in actuality, I really couldn't care less. I think I look great for my age, I am in the best shape I have ever been in my life, and I am surrounded my people who love and care for me. What else could I ask for? Well, a job would help ;)

LOST is back on for its final season and Tuesday's premiere was phenomenal. They keep taking it in directions I don't expect, and I love it.

My Coachella tickets arrived today and I have already booked a cheap flight to Palm Springs, so the trip is starting to come together. I have never been so excited for a trip. Great location, great friends, and great music.

Why do some women feel the need to carry a purse that is the size of a suitcase? What could you possibly need to carry in that thing?

I've embraced my inner bear/otter and have stopped manscaping. I forgot how hairy I can get.

It amazes me how people come into your life for a certain period of time and you feel you will always be friends with them, and then they disappear forever. I was in a nice group of guys over a year ago that seemed to be indestructible. Something happened between 3 of the guys and nothing has been the same. I rarely see any of them anymore. It's sad I guess, but I guess people are in your life for a purpose, and if that purpose is met, there is no longer a need for them. Sorry if that sounds cynical.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Head:

"You go for a walk in the park 'cause you don't need anything
Your hand that you sometimes hold doesn't do anything
The face that you see in the door isn't standing there anymore

In a matter of time, it would slip from my mind
In and out of my life, you would slip from my mind
In a matter of time"

Beach House
"Walk In The Park"

"Love is like a sin, my love,
For the ones that feel it the most
Look at her with her eyes like a flame
She will love you like a fly will never love you again"

Massive Attack
"Paradise Circus"

"Doubt, in it all for me
I've hit the wall, all that's left for you is doubt
Better you than me, I've so far to fall
All that's left for you is doubt
In it all for me, I've hit the wall that's left for you is doubt
Better you than me, I've so far to fall, but I can't change now"


Appealing Things

The Coachella lineup
The Terrys
My new cast iron dutch oven

Annoying Things

No job
Projects canceling at the last minute
Recruiters who do not return emails or phone calls