Friday, 15 April 2011

Dummy by Portishead - The seminal trip-hop album of the 90's

Trip-hop is unlike any other genre. The bands aren't concerned with writing hit songs or putting out singles. They're not even out to make a musical masterpiece or artistic statement. They want to take you on a journey. Hypnotic, slowed-down, electronica infulenced beats lay down the backdrop while melancholy melodies dot the landscape. Layers upon layers of sounds create a texture akin to those created by the psychadelic rock bands of the late 60's. Underneath all of this is a bass sound completely unique to the genre. Occupying a frequency range so low that it's barely audible, the bass is less heard and more felt, bringing all the other elements together in such a way that makes you feel as if you are in another universe.

One of the best albums to come out of the trip-hop movement of the 90's is Portishead's 'Dummy', released in 1995. There isn't a single song on 'Dummy' that could be considered a clear miss. Some of the albums gems are 'Roads', a soft-spoken track that could arguably be one of the saddest songs ever recorded, and 'Glory box', which is a driven, deliberate love song accented by the incredibly refined, yet emotional, guitar solo. Other than those, some of the other bright spots on the album are 'Sour Times', which sounds like the opening credits to a Bond movie, 'Numb', a spacious sonic landscape, and 'Biscuit', a prototypical trip-hop track.

This album is fantastic. Its somber tone makes it -the- album for anyone in the middle of emotionally trying times, and the way it has completely hum-able songs while never getting in-your-face makes it fantastic chill-out background music. Listeners be warned though, this album can take a couple of listens to grow on you. All in all, though, it is a fantastic body of work worth the time.


  1. Never new that genre existed, thanks for the information

  2. Good Stuff short round - now get to work writin the next one - I wanna hear MORE!!!