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Massive Attack

Biography

The roots of Massive Attack start in 1983 as the Wild Bunch, a DJ sound system and collective based in England's Bristol. They were known for their broad taste in music, blending reggae with classic R&B and even some punk grooves. Two of the Wild Bunch, Grant "Daddy G" Marshall and Andrew "Mushroom" Vowles split off to form Massive Attack with local graffiti artist Robert "3D" del Naja in 1987. A series of well-received singles followed, but the first Massive Attack album, Blue Lines, was a revelation. At the time of its release in 1992, downtempo electronica and house were the province of Soul To Soul (Keep On Movin') and their dangerously overused but catchy slack-hop beat. Massive Attack, true to their name, came out of nowhere and razed all before them. There was nothing else like it. Credit must be given to producer Nellee Hooper, in some respects the fourth man of the group, since he used his experience producing the first Soul To Soul album to take this new rhythmic style to a different level with the Massive Attack boys, effectively inventing trip-hop in the process. Dubby, soulful and funky, trip-hop became an essential sound for the downtempo cognoscenti. A mini musical revolution had begun, with the likes of Portishead, Beth Orton, the Sneaker Pimps and former Massive Attack member Tricky all starting successful creative careers in the trip-hop world. Sensitive to the cultural zeitgeist of the time in England, the boys briefly changed their name after their debut release to 'Massive' during the first Iraq war. This did not play well in America however, and their first tour here proved a failure. Three years later they came back with Protection, another essential purchase, featuring Everything But The Girl's Tracey Thorn on the stunning opening track. The entire album was then re-mixed by the Mad Professor and released as No Protection. Tracey Thorn's voice was hard to beat, but they managed it with their third release Mezzanine, recruiting the Cocteau Twins' inimitable Elizabeth Fraser, and turning "Teardrop" into the best single the Twins' never released. By the time Massive Attack released their fourth album 100th Window in 2003, it was effectively a solo debut for 3D, since Mushroom and Daddy G had left due to creative differences and family duties respectively. Their most recent work, Danny The Dog, takes them into soundtrack territory, leaving time for frequent remixing requests from anyone with an ear for an elegant and sexy beat.
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