Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Listening: Massive Attack - Mezzanine (1998)

In 2000, Massive Attack's Mezzanine and Tricky's Maxinquaye were the CDs I used to break in my Winamp visualizations and 3D audio processors. Now I'm using Mezzanine and the Prodigy's The Fat of the Land to break in my new Blu-Ray player. Turns out that hearing it on the home theatre system in Dolby Surround is different from what I remember... I noticed how deliciously sinister every track except the two named "Exchange" (based on a pretty riff from an Isaac Hayes song their record company licensed from his) are. But undistracted by the visual pyrotechnics of G-Force, Geiss, and MilkDrop, I couldn't help notice how languid the whole thing is, except for the end of penultimate track "Group Four", which sneaks up on you. "Group Four" is also the one that shows the surround sound function of my Blu-Ray player and home theatre receiver to their best advantage. It turns out to have been one of the first albums to be available in MP3 format and one of the last of the sample era before the record companies cracked down mercilessly. As such, it's a relic of a lost age (without sounding dated) and yet a forerunner of our current digital music era.

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