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Massive Attack seeks allies for next album (The News Tribune, 25th April 2006)
David Bowie, Patti Smith and Faith No More’s Mike Patton are among possible collaborators that influential British dub outfit Massive Attack has recruited for its next studio album, which will likely see the light of day in 2007.
“We just spoke with her management today,” Grant “Daddy G” Marshall said of punk legend Smith on Friday. “We’re just literally trying to get a package of stuff together for her now.”
Massive Attack – the group credited with pioneering a psychotropic blend of dub, hip-hop, techno and rock known commonly as “trip-hop,” in the ’90s – will take a break from recording this week for a quick U.S. jaunt in support of the new “best of” set, “Collected.” The mini tour kicks off Wednesday at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre, followed by stops in Denver and at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, Calif.
Last week Marshall sat in a studio in Bristol, England, where he is recording his portion of the follow-up to 2003’s “100th Window” album.
Massive Attack has taken a round-robin approach to vocals for years, having collaborated with Bowie, Madonna and Mos Def, among others, since debuting with the groundbreaking “Blue Lines” disc in 1991.
A few of the usual suspects – including reggae legend Horace Andy and the Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser – will be back for the new album, Marshall said.
TV on the Radio’s multi-instrumentalist and producer David Andrew Sitek will also contribute to the effort.
“We’re kind of fortunate as Massive Attack in that most people who we’ve actually asked to help us with the albums have always turned around and said yes,” Marshall said.
Marshall also discussed shake-ups in the band’s lineup that have occurred since 1998’s “Mezzanine” album.
Andrew “Mushroom” Vowles grew disgruntled with the band’s evolving aesthetic after that album and left. And Marshall went on hiatus during the recording of “Window” to spend time with his new daughter, leaving Robert “3D” del Naja to shape the project on his own.
“I kind of lost my focus, really, on music,” Marshall said. “I just kind of wanted to stay at home and get to know my baby, really. My parents when they first had me … we were not that well off and quite poor, so my parents had to go straight back to work. So I never really got that sort of relationship with my parents when I was a younger kid.”
Marshall and del Naja decided to work separately this time around, an approach Marshall likened to the one OutKast used for double album “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” essentially a pair of solo discs from OutKast’s Big Boi and Andre 3000.
“We’ll reconvene when we think the time is right,” he said. “D’s gonna be doing some stuff on mine, and I’m gonna be doing some stuff on D’s. So far it’s cool, you know. … We haven’t really worked together for a long time, and I think this is the only way that we can actually get a little bit more direction.”
Marshall is taking a back-to-basics approach to the tracks he is recording.
“I think ‘100th Window’ was a bit too flared up for me. There was a bit too much sort of electronica (stuff) going on,” he said. “We’re trying to keep it really, really simple. … Simple vocal lines and things you can latch onto with a lot of space in it.”
One new track called “Red, Black and Green” has found its way into the group’s live set. And old favorites have been revamped for the stage.
“A lot of stuff that we started (with), say electronic stuff, we’ve translated totally into band form,” Marshall said. “And slowly over the years, in the studio as well, we’ve gone from sample-based music to, you know, working (with) musicians directly.”
Massive Attack’s main stage prop is a 30-foot LED screen across which political messages and data related to world issues will scroll. The band uses this approach in lieu of overtly political lyrics.
“Personally, I’ve never liked to politicize my music,” Marshall said.
“I don’t really want to ram certain messages down people’s throats. But there are certain things that you have to sort of let people be aware of … like the Iraqi war and how unjust it is, and AIDS and how people aren’t sort of really giving it much credence.”
Massive Attack plans to return to the states for a longer tour in September.

by Ernest A. Jasmin http://www.thenewstribune.com/ae/story/5689336p-5099406c.html