Massive Attack - Heligoland - 2010 Downtempo Trip Hop 180 Grm 2LP + Art Booklet
Massive Attack - Heligoland
Virgin – 00602557009743, Virgin – 5700974
2 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Glitter-Covered, 180 Gram
"Triple Gatefold Sleeve: 2x180 Gram Heavyweight Vinyl Album
28-Page Booklet Featuring Exclusive Artwork"
The artwork includes black spot glitter varnish.
Includes a coupon for a free digital album download from "The Sound Of Vinyl"
Made In The EU.
27 Apr 2018
Trip Hop, Downtempo
A1 Pray For Rain 6:42
A2 Babel 5:16
B1 Splitting The Atom 5:14
B2 Girl I Love You 5:26
B3 Psyche 3:21
C1 Flat Of The Blade 5:27
C2 Paradise Circus 4:58
C3 Rush Minute 4:48
D1 Saturday Come Slow 3:42
D2 Atlas Air 7:46
Record Company – Universal International Music B.V.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Virgin Records Ltd.
Copyright (c) – Virgin Records Ltd.
Mastered At – Metropolis Mastering
Pressed By – Optimal Media GmbH – BG39737
Art Direction – Robert Del Naja, Tom Hingston Studio
Artwork – Robert Del Naja
Lacquer Cut By [Cutting Master] – Olli Timmins
Management – Marc Picken
Mastered By – Tim Young
Photography By – Mark Simmons
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Barcode (Scanned (Stickered)): 602557009743
Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, hand etched): BG39737-01 A1 57009750
Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, hand etched): BG39737-01 B1 57009750
Matrix / Runout (Runout side C, hand etched): BG39737-02 C1 57009767
Matrix / Runout (Runout side D, hand etched): BG39737-02 D1 57009767
Rights Society: BIEM/SDRM
Label Code: LC0398
Massive Attack albums are rarely immediate. Same with Heligoland: at first, the synths at the beginning of "Splitting The Atom" and "Flat Of The Blade" sound off-key and simplistic. I heard the three-note lead in "Paradise Circus" and wondered how on earth that simple sound could sustain a five-minute song.
But when I listened to "Paradise Circus" a few times, my perception started to change. The clattering, echoing drum track combined with the lead to create an eerie atmosphere. Above all, the song has possibly the most intimate vocal performance of any Massive Attack song. Hope Sandoval's voice is scratchy, but the way you can hear every minute shift in her throat, together with the deliberately slow pace of the vocal, gives an impression of a wide-awake, intensely focused late-night rumination. It's a remarkably sexy song, but it also expresses uncomfortable qualms: the lyrics say that "the devil makes us sin," and that's exactly how the song sounds, like someone giving in to temptation, but feeling uneasy about possible divine repercussions.
The entire album is characterized by this subtle feeling, like constantly looking back over one's shoulder. Heligoland sounds softer and more electronic than, say, Mezzanine, without those overdriven guitars. But it also sounds much more swampy and dissonant (maybe "sullen" might be a good word to describe the tone of the drums in "Pray For Rain") than Protection. This makes it difficult to like the album on the first listen, but at some point, one starts to appreciate the spooky, off-kilter atmosphere. The haunted-house keyboards and strings are somewhat reminiscent of The Knife's Silent Shout, one of the best albums of the past decade.
And just when you think that the music sounds too simple, there's some kind of twist. Toward the end of "Paradise Circus," there is a break with soft strings, and after that, some dark, reverberating piano chords come in to very strong effect. The downtuned echo of the chimes opening "Pray For Rain" is both pretty and creepy. It is soon strangled by the overbearing drums; halfway through the song quiets down, then builds back up in a loud, dark drone, and then unexpectedly breaks into a more gentle-sounding plateau. Once you register everything that's going on, you see how original it is. The keyboard lead in "Splitting The Atom" eventually sinks into a dreamy ambient outro. Many songs don't end the way you expect them to.
"Girl I Love You" is also a lot more interesting than you might expect from the requisite Horace Andy song (especially one with such a generic title). It is similar to the classic "Angel," it's got the dub bass line, the reverb in the background, and the crashing, loud crescendo -- but, incredibly, it does all of those things better than "Angel." It's a lot more energetic, with a fast dance beat. Instead of the grinding guitars (which were powerful, but honestly a bit plodding), there is what sounds like a brass section in a haunted circus. And it also helps that Horace Andy turns in his best, smoothest Massive Attack vocal yet -- not bad for a guy who's pushing sixty!
Unexpectedly, "Atlas Air" is Massive Attack's most danceable song, with a bracing house beat and an awesome echoing, multi-layered keyboard hook. Even more unexpectedly, Robert Del Naja finally puts a new spin on his mumbling vocal style and sort of speak-sings to the rhythm. In the process, he gets backed by these amazing reverberating electronic chimes that contrast his voice perfectly and give it an ominous edge. Eventually, there's a blaring noise breakdown. This song should be a hit.
I should say that Heligoland moves very far from Massive Attack's hip-hop roots. Robert Del Naja only takes the lead on two songs, probably to compensate for hogging the limelight on 100th Window. Even then, he does no rapping, and instead prefers the restrained speak-singing style that I mentioned above. Grant Marshall gets one verse on "Splitting The Atom," but even there he sort of recites the words without really rapping per se. As if to underscore the departure from rap, Heligoland brings in a bunch of other male singers, including Damon Albarn, who gives a reliably good, plaintive vocal performance on "Saturday Comes Slow," which is good, but sounds a bit like a Blur ballad.
But then, we expect every Massive Attack album to be a departure, don't we? The originality of Heligoland is more subtle than, say, the difference between Mezzanine and Protection, and takes time to really sink in. However, though the sullen, stifling production and deceptively simple melodies may throw one off at first, they actually conceal surprising, multi-segmented song structures and pinprick-inducing atmosphere.
|Format||2LP, 180 Gram|