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Music Review: Massive Attack – Splitting The Atom

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On October 6 Massive Attack is set to release their first new material in three years, and it has been worth the wait. I was never a huge Massive Attack fan – although I can't say I ever spent any real time listening to them, so maybe it was just lack of exposure that led me to feel like I was listening to a band for the first time when I heard their new material – or perhaps they have progressed with their music and produced a finely polished product in their new EP Splitting The Atom.

With guest artists like Horace Andy, Tunde Adebimpe (TV On The Radio), Martina Topley-Bird, and Guy Garvey that album manages to pull many different voices into a solid and unified product that is like audio velvet – dark and textured to look at, but soft to the touch. Two of the tracks were also remixed, one by Van Rivers & The Subliminal Kid and one by Christoff Berg, and their work is really ingenious as the album is a single fluid and consistent work – a perfect mix that can be hard to achieve when so many collaborators are involved.

Splitting the Atom got me excited for the release of Massive Attack's next studio album – number 5 – which should come out in February of 2010 and involves many of the same collaborators that worked on the EP. Currently in the middle of their first full UK tour in three years and just having won the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award, Massive Attack are poised for a strong re-emergence on the music scene, and the upcoming EP is an exciting peek at what is to come.

When it comes out on October 6 I recommend getting a copy, pouring a glass of red wine, running a nice hot bath, and falling into a beautiful and relaxed alternate universe as you listen to the four tracks top to bottom. It is a fantastic work.

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About Justin Handley

  • jjazznola

    3D & Daddy G are not guest artists, they ARE Massive Attack. Seriously, how can you have never even listened to them? They are by far one of the best & most interesting artists of the 90’s. If you like this new stuff, you’ll love their 1st 3 cd’s.

  • GetAClue

    This review is a fraud. Not only does the reviewer not understand that 3D and Daddy G are Massive Attack … How can the writer pen a review of album when no one has it yet? I would have guessed this was written after listening to the EP. But the more I read, the more I realized this review is utterly clueless. I doubt the writer even listened to the EP.

  • Manu

    “With guest artists like Robert Del Naja (3D), Grant Marshall (Daddy G), Horace Andy, Tunde Adebimpe (TV On The Radio), Martina Topley-Bird, and Guy Garvey that album manages to pull…”

    Well, Justin. “3D” and “Daddy G” are not “guest artists”. They are the core members of MA.

    BTW. It’s highly debatable which people constitute MA (the artist change pretty much constantly), and Daddy G wasn’t even present on 100th Window. Most would agree he’s still the core member.

  • http://justinhandley.com Justin Handley

    So, I’m an idiot. Not knowing Massive Attack before the review, I copied the guest artist list straight from an EMI press release – guess they didn’t know either! However, to be fair, I did review the EP, not the album (clearly stated in the review) and I did listen to it a lot before I wrote. In any case… I was trying to post a link to their new video here, but the spam filters won’t let me, so I’ll stick it on my site if you want to go see it.

  • Aaron

    It’s impossible to say Horace is a “guest” too, he’s like the 5th Beatle for MA. Been on every record & hit.

  • Aaron

    btw.. other than that it was a good review.

    you should check out mezzanine ;)