No one does it quite like Tricky.
Famous for his acclaimed number ‘Hell Is Round The Corner’, which referenced Portishead’s ‘Glorybox’ (not that he needs the introduction) Tricky is a man of many art forms. Fusing electronic with art-rock the artist makes a thrilling return with ‘20,20’, released via his own record label False Idols. It sees sultry whispers creeping in, chilling string-work and contemporary interludes, as well as vocals from touring singer Marta Zlakowska and musician/poet Anika Henderson.
With its piercing synths, daunting strings and Tricky’s staple husky vocal delivery, the project feels a lot closer to the original sounds in his ’95 debut, ‘Maxinquaye’, and less buoyant than his last release ‘Ununiform’. Bluesy opener, ‘I Hate this Pain’, is a sturdy murmur, simple piano work joined by the refrain of “I hate this fucking game” ringing through.
Slow and sensual, this ballad-like introduction is short but affective. The delayed echos of Tricky’s vocal are deeper than his own, creating a shadowy presence on the track - standing out like a luring figure.
Whilst Tricky’s vocals are the predominant factor in ‘I Hate this Pain’, second track, ‘Lonely Dancer,’ is elegantly lead by Anika’s sombre touch. Simplistic, this contemporary piece feels dream-like, enticingly leading the atmosphere into a nonchalant hypnotic state. Building with harmonies and the use of minimal instrumentation, a whispering vocal spins into the figure of a lonely dancer.
Finishing with climactic instrumental, ‘M’, this last cut offers a slightly more hopeful round-off. Almost spiritual sounding, it creates a sense of peace and calm. Atmospheric, the simplistic bass wobbles and shimmering synths work to complete this project with a feeling of wonder.
In just three tracks Tricky has done it again, the beautiful enigma that he is continues to explore and evolve with ‘20,20’. Completely authentic in sound, the EP may be short but it doesn't leave the listner unfulfiled. And in any case, Tricky's never been about quantity - this is an artist only concerned with quality.
Words: Laviea Thomas
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