Monday, July 07, 2008

Owen is bang on about Tricky. He may have been out of fashion for over a decade (and I’ve even been a bit cruel about him occasionally myself, joshing that perhaps it would be good idea if, like Portishead, he’d only made three LP’s) but this doesn’t mean he hasn’t been producing great records. I think the underlying disadvantage for Tricky is that basically he’s a brilliant songwriter, basically a pop and rock artist, effectively where Indy should be now, occupying the place that Coldplay and the Killers occupy, but he’s assessed from the wrong perspective. He’s completely mainstream, or would be if it weren’t for the Britpop counterrevolution. In an alternate and much more interesting Universe he’s headlining Glastonbury instead of Jay-Z and Liam Gallagher is still roadying for the Inspiral Carpets. The same goes for Dizzy. Who doesn’t like “Maths and English”? I assumed I wouldn’t till I heard it, actually. Third album! Must be passé by now. It’s a tremendous record, fizzy, colourful, witty, stirring. smart. These are the people who should be experiencing the tremendous run of acclaim and adoration that left-fieldish bands like The Cure had through the Eighties and early Nineties.

I wonder if there isn’t a bit of racism hanging around here that kind of obliges anyone black making beats based music to stay abreast of the “ furious rate of innovation” in electronic music, the neomania that largely says someone can only be good for ten minutes, can contribute their bit to the data flow as it mutates and surges forward before being instantly consigned to oblivion. “Knowle West Boy” has a whole set of tremendous ideas, beautifully realized, what it hasn’t done is “move with the times”, but no-one expects that of Kate Bush do they? Or Scritti. They’re allowed to be “artists” who refine and sculpt their sensibilities and who maintain credibility because they are largely appraised in their own terms, with reference to their own previous work and to degree to which they’re enlarging upon their own unique take on things. Because there’s no sense that they have to remain “street”. If you're playing Jazz you can be granted the holy mantle of being a black “artist”, but beats-based stuff, nah. That’s NOW or it’s nothing. Second album? Haven’t you given up yet?

Viva Tricky!

1 comment:

Dan said...

"but no-one expects that of Kate Bush do they?"

Curiously, it turns out Tricky is a big Kate Bush fan - I remember reading an issue of Mojo where he said that 'The Kick Inside' was the "album that changed his life", or somesuch. Sign of an ambition that never got fulfilled...?