Portishead [Special]

Portishead [Special]

Portishead may not have invented trip-hop, but they were among the first to popularize it, particularly in America. Taking their cue from the slow, elastic beats that dominated Massive Attack's Blue Lines and adding elements of cool jazz, acid house, and soundtrack music, Portishead created an atmospheric, alluringly dark sound. The group wasn't as avant-garde as Tricky, nor as tied to dance traditions as Massive Attack; instead, it wrote evocative pseudo-cabaret pop songs that subverted their conventional structures with experimental productions and rhythms of trip-hop. As a result, Portishead appealed to a broad audience -- not just electronic dance and alternative rock fans, but thirtysomethings who found techno, trip-hop, and dance as exotic as worldbeat. Before Portishead released their debut album, Dummy, in 1994, trip-hop's broad appeal wasn't apparent, but the record became an unexpected success in Britain, topping most year-end critics polls and earning the prestigious Mercury Music Prize; in America, it also became an underground hit, selling over 150,000 copies before the group toured the U.S. Following the success of Dummy, legions of imitators appeared over the next two years, but Portishead remained quiet as they worked on their second album.

Named after the West Coast shipping town where Geoff Barrow grew up, Portishead formed in Bristol, England, in 1991. Prior to the group's formation, Barrow had worked as a tape operator at the Coach House studio, where he met Massive Attack. Through that group, he began working with Tricky, producing the rapper's track for the Sickle Cell charity album. Barrow also wrote songs for Neneh Cherry's Homebrew, though only "Somedays" appeared on the record. Around the time of Portishead's formation, he had begun to earn a reputation as a remix producer, working on tracks by Primal Scream, Paul Weller, Gabrielle and Depeche Mode. Barrow met Beth Gibbons, who had been singing in pubs, in 1991 on a job scheme. Over the next few years, the pair began writing music, often with jazz guitarist Adrian Utley, who had previously played with both Big John Patton and the Jazz Messengers.Before releasing a recording, Portishead completed the short film To Kill a Dead Man, an homage to '60s spy movies.

Barrow and Gibbons acted in the noirish film and provided the soundtrack, which earned the attention of Go! Records. By the fall, Portishead had signed with Go! and their debut album, Dummy, was released shortly afterward. Dummy was recorded with engineer Dave MacDonald, who played drums and drum machines, and guitarist Utley, who rounded out Portishead's lineup.

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The band was formed in Bristol in 1991, by Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons and Adrian Utley. Previously, Barrow had been working as a tape operator (including work with Massive AttackTricky)[2], Gibbons was singing in pubs, and Utley had played jazz guitar for Big John PattonThe Jazz Messengers.[3] The trio created the short film To Kill a Dead Man, which was heavily inspired by espionage films, and its accompanying soundtrack persuaded Go! Beat Records to sign the band.[4][5]

Dummy (1994)
Portishead's first
album, Dummy, was released in 1994 and the first single was "Numb." Despite the band's aversion to press coverage, the album was successful in both Europe and the United States (where it sold more than 150,000 copies even before the band toured there).[4] DummyNumb", "Glory Box" (which was used in the 1996 film When the Cat's Away) and "Sour Times", and went on to win the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in 1995.[6]

Portishead (1997)
After their initial success,
Portishead withdrew from the spotlight for three years until their second self-titled album, Portishead, was released in 1997. The album's sound differed from Dummy, the main differences being that much of the music was composed and recorded by the band, then pressed to vinyl. This created a grainy, harsher sound. Three singles, "All Mine", "Over" and "Only You" were released, the first one achieving a Top 10 placing in the UK.

Roseland NYC Live (1998)
In 1997, the band performed a
one-off show with strings by the New York Philharmonic[7] at Roseland Ballroom in New York. A live album primarily featuring these new orchestral arrangements of the group's songs was released in 1998. There was also a long-form VHS video of the performance, and a DVD followed in 2002, with substantial extra material including many early videos.

Hiatus (1999-2005)
For the next few years, the band members concentrated on solo and other pursuits, until in February 2005, the band appeared live for the first time in seven years at the Tsunami Benefit Concert in Bristol.
[8] Around that time Barrow revealed that the band was in the process of writing its third album. In August 2006, the band posted two new tracks on its MySpace[9] Around the same time, Portishead covered Serge Gainsbourg's "Un Jour Comme un Autre (Requiem for Anna)" on the tribute album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited.

Third (2008)
On October 2, 2007, that the new album, titled Third, had been mixed and was nearly complete, and was due for release in early April 2008. The release date was later pushed back to April 28. On December 8-9, 2007, the band curated the All Tomorrow's PartiesMinehead, England. The festival featured their first full live sets in nearly 10 years.[10] They premiered five tracks from the new album; "Silence", "Hunter", "The Rip", "We Carry On" and "Machine Gun". On January 21, 2008, a European tour to support the album was announced,[11] together with a headline spot at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 26, 2008.[12]

Portishead's newest 11-track album "Third" went live on last.fm the week before release, attracting 327,000 listeners in just under 24 hours.[13] It was the first time Last.fm has made an album available before its official release date. The site estimates that a quarter of a million people have visited their site expressly to listen to the Portishead tracks. The album was released on April 29, 2008 to coincide with band's appearance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[14] On May 29, 2008 Portishead's Geoff Barrow realised a "boyhood fantasy" when Chuck D of Public Enemy joined the band onstage at the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona. He contributed a freestyle rap over Portishead's single 'Machine Gun'.[15]

[Web sites]
1994 - Dummy
1995 - Glory Times
1995 - Trip-Hop Reconstruction
1997 - Portishead
1998 - Roseland NYC Live
2008 - Third
Bonus : Remixes

Pass: bunalti.com