Massive's 'Protection' samples psychedelic dance rhythms

By Jason Fierstein

Arizona Daily Wildcat


Massive Attack

Virgin Records America

In 1982, Massive Attack's Daddy G was first introduced to the cut-scratch technique of Davy D during a Kurtis Blow concert. With some experimental raves around the Bristol, England area, Grant "Daddy G" Marshall collaborated with Nellee Hooper and found Bristol-area child delinquents Mushroom (Andrew Vowles) and 3-D (Robert Del Naja) to contribute to the dance/hip-hop conglomeration. The Wild Bunch was thus created.

After the glory days of the Bristol club scene faded and the DJ-ing reign of the Wild Bunch renegades dimmed, Massive Attack rose from the flames. Massive Attack's second and latest release, Protection, is a trippy, chilled entourage of subterranean sounds, samples and ganja overtures.

Protection is a varied and well-produced battle plan. Contributors to the album are Nigerian vocalist Nicolette ("Sly" and "Three"), Studio One reggae singer Horace Andy (who remakes his original reggae hit "Spying Glass"), and Everything But The Girl's jazz diva Tracey Thorn.

Protection's leadoff hitter, the title track "Protection," is a psychedelic hypnotism cranked down on the turntable to about 16 rpm. Thorn's beautiful voice drives through the void of beats in "Protection." The dance element is still in effect, but the monotony is quite rhythmic.

"Karmacoma" also has the swami effect. Rapper Tricky's gentle Bristol tongue chants about the "herb" on this low-tempo dance track. Phat beats and samples seem to be filtered through a haze of ganja smoke to produce nothing more than mesmerization and paranoia.

Nicolette's girlish vocals and violin overtures carry smoothly together on "Sly," a track with a Middle Eastern belly dance feel. "Heat Miser" is a sensationally programmed series of beats. Samples were taken either from a respirator or directly from Darth Vader himself. They are interwoven into "Halloween"-like piano solos, which creates a scary breed of music to bug out to.

Mushroom, 3-D and Daddy G are masters of the arts of smooth and funky. Protection groups the best together to record an album of true quality.

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