The unbearable lightness of waiting for a new Massive Attack LP has come to a halt. The band announced through their official website that February 8th 2010 is the date when the abstinence ceases. Except for the four track EP Splitting the Atom, released this fall, it has been seven years since a full MA studio album pleased our trip hop senses.
The new album, Heligoland (it’s still unclear whether the boys are fans of Shena Mackay or of geography), will feature guest vocalists on most of the tracks and the these guests are all ‘cat’s meow’ material. Damon Albarn finds one more project to attach his name to, as well as Elbow’s Guy Garvey. A bit of yankee edge is provided by TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe. On the female side, you have tour buddy Martina Topley-Bird and also the wonderful voice of Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star fame. Old friend, Horace Andy is not forgotten either — he contributes to two tracks, including first single, Splitting the Atom. Check the band’s official site for complete tracklisting and artwork.
P.S. This picture is not the cover, but one fascinating painting by Robert del Naja.
Ok, so it would be a fallacy to state that Massive Attack scored the italian mob docudrama Gommora, considering that, except for the end titles, the movie doesn’t really have a score, except for some songs, usually playing in clubs or cars. What Massive Attack contributed with is a four and half minutes instrumental entitled Herculaneum, which can be heard throughout the end titles. Still, this is such a Robert Del Naja aka 3D masterpiece that it’s worth a full soundtrack article. It’s also one of the best things about Gommora, the movie being a bit of a study-time (it took me about an hour to understand who’s who and what’s what).
This is not the first time Massive Attack are involved in the movie business and by this I’m not talking about Angel being on the soundtrack of a milion films, but about Unleashed (aka Danny the Dog) which they scored completely. Of course, we are not going to ignore their contribution to such movies like The Jackal (Superpredators is the perfect opening theme for any action flick) and the only reason why Blade 2 would be mentioned on this site in a non-derogatory way is that perfect symbiosis between Massive Attack and Mos Def called I Against I. Just to name a couple…
Herculaneum is one of those scarry songs that Massive Attack indulge in quite often, but this time there is no low beat like in Butterfly Caught or Smalltime Shot Away. The best word that comes in mind, when you are listening to Herculaneum is… boiling. And the feeling is very well in touch with the subject, as many of the characters are boiling and violence is always on the verge of happening. This is a piece of music that you can’t even start to think how it was done. Probably half of the sounds are created by something else than musical instruments or software/samplers. There are some strings which add the horror vibe, but they are mixed with, what I’m pretty sure is, the sound of a screw squeaking and hammers hitting nails. Just to name a couple…
This is new teritorry even for Massive Attack and probably it woun’t be repeated on their future album, but it would surely be fascinating to hear Robert Del Naja going at it again, a soundtrack that is.