I love Tricky. I don’t remember now if I found him first and then leapfrogged to Portishead or vice-versa, through that Isaac Hayes sample. Not long after I saw him on Later with Jools Holland performing Karmacoma with Martina Topley-Bird. Then he was in The Face magazine, i-D, and every other decent magazine that had anything to do with music. I was hooked.
I haven’t been following music magazine so much in the last few years, so I don’t know what the critical viewpoint of him is, but I just get the sense that he isn’t appreciated for the genius that he is. He really resonated with me — coming from a council estate in Bristol isn’t that different from a council house in East Anglia. There was a certain working class viewpoint in there, but then you got it filtered through the musically literate mind that span things in a way that no one else was doing at that time.
Sometimes with Tricky you get a clattering punk hop fusion of noises that fall forward into a sprint that mixes the melodic and the noise to a better effect than anyone else in the field. Sometimes you get a sparse sound palette that the vocals weave in and out of. You never know exactly where he is going to take it. For me there have been some tunes that haven’t worked, but they are in the minority.
The Fall who provided the title for this section of the blog, were described as ‘Always the same; always different,’ by John Peel, and that description applies in some way to Tricky. I know I am listening to Tricky, but I never know what I am going to get. I am really happy his career has lasted as long as it has and delivers as consistently as it has.
Lonely Guest does sound sparse to me. I looked to see who sang on each track — not that I needed to with Lee “Scratch” Perry — and as much as I am going to track down the individual work of these artists, here they don’t matter as much as the man behind the scenes building the soundscape. If I say that I slid through this album and barely noticed it passing because of the pace it moved along and how involved I felt with it, I am saying that for me there was no filler. It made me think of the Nearly God project, which is a very good thing. Let Tricky do what he wants — he can take my money every time.