Really God
Tricky makes the album of his career.
            With tunes and everything!
Last year, Tricky was an unpleasant man who made unpleasant music and no one liked him any more. He kicked a FACE journalist in the head, in public. He verbally abused another journalist, from a concert stage. And he assaulted the remainder of the general public with the 'blunt' end of his paranoia opus Angels With Dirty Faces, which wasn't so much 'dark' as 'unlistenable black-pop calamity' and closed the curtains of doom round the coffin of an increasingly tune-free, spiritually desolate soundscape. This year, Tricky DJed in LA and played Spice Girls records. He's said to be recording a version of House Of Pain's 'Jump Around' for the new Soul Assassins LP. And his new album, Juxtapose, is his finest class-pop sonic panorama since 1995's Maxinquaye. Ten actual songs which soar into the dancing lights of cinematic wizardry, and sound, mostly, like a flamenco/funk/hip hop Nirvana recorded in a Seventies perv parlour, produced by John Barry, drunk at his own pagan wedding in cyberspace. Collaborating with Tricky on Juxtapose are hip hop producers DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill, House Of Pain, Ice Cube) and Grease, who produced Def Jam's DMX and a man who, notes the Trickster, gruffly, "has  this ability to make big songs with a diverse sensibility. We went into the studio and he played me quality material that just blew me away." Guest vocals come from singer/musician Bob Khaleel (the some time Bronx Style Bob); Kioka Williams, also signed to Tricky's Durban Poison label, whose voice, notes Tricky, "is almost magical" (and almost identical to ex-singer/partner Martine's); and Mad Dog (sometime London Posse herbert known as Byonic) whose "flow", notes Tricky, "is insane. Years ago I used to hear his records in clubs and it was my ambition to work with him. His style blows me away. Prepare to be "blown", then, with 'For Real' (1ingly guitar-funk colossus about record deals and guns), 'Bom Bom Diggy' (which name- checks Lionel Richie and features a Hendrix wig-out), 'Contradictive' (classic orchestral-pop groover with Timbaland-style guffaws in the background), 'She Said' (supersonic bossanova James Bond Seventies trouble-funk) and the Eminem-esque,  porno-funk caper 'I Like Girls': "Met two girls in a restaurant, didn't know the hookers was lesbians.../Show was perfect, the one with the tits/You know the girl's fit/Slim girI was holding her hips/Stroking her tongue all over  her clit." Kioka adds the sex 'n'dope rhymes to the widescreen 'Hot Like A Sauna' (so good they've made it twice, with an "Alt version", all Metallica-meets-hip hop hilarity); 'Call Me's sunshine soul coos, "I wait for you, a hate for you..."; the bleak and beautiful 'Wash Away' is bathed in mournsome violas; and Tricky actually lilts through the mesmeric piano orchestration of 'Luv': "Wish I could see luv/lt's a long time/Since I've seen luv." Blimey.
"Hip hop's part of my history," says the sometime Darth Vader of rap, now morphed into a skywalking vibesmith-a-go-go. "This is a different perspective to an art form that I love and respect. I'm not trying to be a tough guy or a pimp. I feel Juxtapose can bring a different way of thinking about hip hop". This year, he's swapped his mind-meltin' blunts in favour of a Prozac 'n' Viagra cocktail to summon up a cre ative, life-saving spell of soul levitation.
Tricky: he's been 'Nearly God', and he's been barking, for ages, nearly like a dog. But he's alright nooowww! Ahem.
Sylvie Jones

Juxtapose is released on Island on August 16

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