Weekly Retrospective

W- 2020/02/17-23

“Maxinquaye” turns 25

On February 20th, 1995, Tricky released “Maxinquaye,” through 4th & Broadway. The album was co-produced by Mark Sounders, having Martina Topley-Bird as main vocalist with the additional singers Alisson Goldfrapp, Ragga and Mark Stewart. His solo debut identifies trip-hop definitively by his voice and lyrics. The peculiar articulation and cadence of MC AdrianTricky Kid Thaws rhyming differs from most of the American rappers at the time, delighting for one’s fortune or other’s misfortune. He is uttering spliff as the only way to scape from crime, revealing abandonment.

Giving narrative to ‘Daydreaming,’ the second single released at the end of 1990 by Massive Attack, six months before its celebrated debut “Blue Lines,” help to define the Bristol Sound. He was a crucial part of the collective, then formed by Robert3DDel Naja, and the triplet of DJs GrantDaddy GMarshall, Nellee Hooper, and AndrewMushroom Vowles under the creative supervision of producer Jonny Dollar. He also contributed some rhymes to the ‘Five Men Army‘ and the title track, ‘Blue Lines.’ Before its release, he met 15 years old Martina Topley-Bird, who sang in a home recording of ‘Aftermath.’ Tricky offered the song for the album, but they were not interested, considering unsuitable.

Tricky. “Maxinquaye” (4th & Boradway)

He took some distance from Massive Attack‘s creative entourage for the matter of limiting. His first solo material was ‘Nothing Clear,’ a claustrophobic dub reggae included in “The Hard Shell,” a compilation of Bristol musical scene in aid of sickle-cell amnesia, released in 1991. With the encouragement of his flat-mate Mark Stewart, a founding member of The Pop Group, post-punk and industrial hip-hop pioneer for U-Sound Records, Tricky recorded a new version of ‘Aftermath‘ in 1992. Martina‘s baby doll blues was wrapped up in a guitar riff sampled from Marvin Gaye with flutes around in a psychotic atmosphere as Tricky rambling, “How can I be sure in a world that is constantly changing?” ‘Aftermath‘ remained unreleased two years until he delivered through his Naive label with strong critical reception. After Island Records re-released it, he recorded ‘Ponderosa‘ with producer Howie B. The set scene for the debut solo album, “Maxinquaye,” was in the works. Failing the commitment to deliver some lyrics to Massive Attack‘s sophomore album, “Protection,” Tricky gave them two written for “Maxinquaye.” So there are songs across the two albums sharing practically the same lines – the “Maxinquaye” tracks entitled ‘Overcome‘ and ‘Hell ‘Round The Corner,’ have textual matching similarities with ‘Karmacoma‘, and ‘Eurochild‘, on “Protection,” respectively.

Maxinquaye” is tributed to his mother, Maxine, also known with the surname ‘Quaye,’ who died when Tricky was four years old. She used to write poetry and he impersonates the voice of a demanding legacy. In painfully slow tempos, Tricky scans every corner of the absence, of his betrayal fate, the darker recesses of the mind where foggy atmospheres reign. The whispers of a generation in drug culture instead utopian something else, whatever, but brighter. It is not sweet-talking but perturbating in audacious sound, loaded in character and pain.

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