Tricky

Adrian Thaws

False Idols

Sep 11, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


It would be easy to relegate this Bristol-bred emcee to a very compartmentalized and sometimes incorrect intellectual place"trip hop," "Bristol sound," and "ex-Massive Attack" are silly buzzwords that try to draw some arbitrary (if momentarily helpful) links between Tricky's music and the specific cultural moment from which it came. Distinctions like these, however, don't really mean much other than what has been hashed to death over 20 years in the music presshe and his cohorts paved a new road for electronica and hip-hop out of Britain, and they've continued making solid records that further that imprint. Remove yourself from this chatter, and the sort-of-self-titled Adrian Thaws (Tricky's legal name) is a positive evolutionary step for an artist whose sound otherwise defies easy categorization.

Tricky's production trademark, a darkly ambient aesthetic that reeks of something vaguely unsettling with every bass gurgle or snare crack, is played out in instrumentals that traverse everything from minimalist house ("Nicotine Love") to hard-rocking big beat ("Why Don't You") to reverb-drenched, tabla-heavy reggae ("Silly Games") and everything in between. Tricky also plays master curator on Adrian Flaws, interspersing his signature sinister-meets-laconic verses with a plethora of distinctive vocalists and emcees (firebrand emcees Mykki Blanco and Bella Gotti amon them) who are given the main stage on most songs and allowed formidable room for sonic reinvention wherever they appear. Adrian Flaws won't convert the uninitiated, but it is a worthwile addition to Tricky's already-proven oeuvre. (www.trickysite.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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