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Tricky “Maxinquaye”

Written by: 17 November 2008 One Comment

Following on from Websta’s & Benny’s posts about albums that made an impact, I would like to proudly induct Tricky’s debut, “Maxinquaye”, into the Stink-Finger hall of fame.

Tricky threw his darkly warped yet disturbingly sexy collection of songs into the world in 1995, one year after I had escaped high school and moved on to studying audio engineering in an institution filled with tutors who believed that The Beatles would re-form and release new music any day now. They instantly hated me after discovering that my love of “electronic house music”, and tried to convince me it was a passing fad and would never last since there were no real use for guitars in it.
In a young and foolish attempt to convince them I had no issues with guitars, I played them parts of Maxinquaye. Their disdain for me grew even deeper. 

The opening track, Overcome, provokes that exact feeling – stealing Tricky’s lines from his time with Massive Attack and placing them over plodding drums and eerie drawn out atmospheres.  From that point on, the rhythms slowly unravel and become more and more disjointed as each track passes, and while Martina Topley’s delivery of Tricky’s writings slightly soften the intense blow, the actual lyrical content is enough to mix an uncomfortable unease with a dark sub-conscious familiarity.

Tricky’s own dry raspy vocals finally take a front seat on Hell Is Round The Corner, and the appropriate chant of “my brain thinks bomb like” catapults you straight into his psyche. 

The album has been put together in such a way that drags you along, possibly against your own better judgement, and pulls you through dirty corridors of demons with unstable strobe-like sonic blasts of thoughts you know should be locked out, but will seep through whatever crevice necessary to get inside.  Tricky plants himself in your head, and provides a channeling voice to all the ideas you’ve tried to lock away for so long.

If you manage to survive through Abbaon Fat Track (“I’ll fuck you in the ass/just for a laugh/then with quick speed/I’ll make your nose bleed”), you get thrown into the whiplash of Brand New, You’re Retro before hitting a speedbump of cocked-guns and disorientating noises on Strugglin’ (“Label me insane/I’m more normal than most”).

13 years & several Tricky albums later, Maxinqaye remains one of the most unnerving and outstanding albums I own, with his side Nearly God side project being the only one that could possibly be labelled as darker than this.

Tricky: Hell Is Round The Corner

One Comment »

  • Benny said:

    Nice one! This was a favourite album of mine too, though my attention waned as did Tricky’s career during the late 90s. He had a new record this year I think but I haven’t checked it yet.

    I wouldn’t have picked you as a Tricky fan – showing a dark side to the Lelo!

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