|Ex of the Bristol's
Wild Bunch, now with Massive Attack, rapper Tricky has just
released his superb solo debut, 'Aftermath', a song about having the eyes of his
mother, featuring vocals from a schoolgirl
Soundgarden fan. JIM ARUNDEL has further details.
Visual by JAMIE REID
the last count Tricky owes me two stereos and an eardrum. Yup, when the
bassline to "Aftermath" thunders into your life your woofers are history,
bub. But don't expect frantic dancefloor action. Like the work of Tricky's
antecedents Massive Attack, "Aftermath" is a moody, fuggy thang, not at
all heavy on the BPM.
It's a slinky, bluesy skank; a smoky lope. It's a sleepy, creepy soundtrack to a narcotic dream. It's good and scary like sex with a stranger in the dark.
The only thing dancing will be your nape hair. It's ace, Tricky.
"Hehehehehehheh." Tricky has a cackle that would shame Sid James.
Why the break from Massive Attack? Couldn't stand the pressure and the whirlwind work rate, I suppose.
"Yeah. Right. I was getting bored and frustrated. I did this for a laugh really."
"I'm always in a melancholy mood. When I was young my nan would have me sat in the middle of the floor listening to Billie Holiday and Nina and stuff like that. She used to keep me up late at night and keep me home from school for company.
"My mum passed away when I was four and my nan used to say she could see my mother in me. She'd sit me in the middle of the floor playing all this moody music, staring at me. Which was quite spooky.
That could warp a kid.
"I'm from a mad family. All of them
villains. Either in prison or on their way there. Knowle West, where I
come from, it looks like the bomb's just dropped. It got badly bombed in
the war and wasn't repaired. There's a part called FilIwood Broadway, they
call it the Bristol Bronx. Police don't go there, it's all kids driving
round in stolen cars. They're hard. But I was really spoilt. If I got into
any fights in the street my nan would come out and finish them." "Aftermath"
then, conjures up this landscape and the chilly nostalgia of a child who
reminded his nan of her daughter, a boy who was his own mother's ghost.
Tricky recorded the track in 1991 with the help of Bristol scene stalwart,
Mark Stewart. Everyone who heard it urged Tricky to release it. Tricky
himself couldn't stop listening to it. Did I mention Martina?
Martina's voice on "Aftermath" is sweet and sensuous and sage. It's hard to believe she was 15 years old when she sang it.
The legend goes that Martina was bunking off school, sitting on a wall at the end of Tricky's
road, copping a crafty fag.
Tricky chatted her up, basically.
Anyway, she goes round to his house a few days later. He's out. But Mark Stewart is there and they chat for ages and finally he says:
love, do you sing?"And she says she does, having sung a bit of jazz at
college. When Tricky gets home they go off and record a couple of things,
one of which turns out to be "Aftermath". Three years later she's finished
school, International Baccalaureate done with, just in time for the single's
release. Just like a movie, innit?
Martina, what were your first impressions of Tricky?
How would you describe him now?
"He's a good laugh. Very clever. Very talented. Standing behind me."
What were Tricky's first impressions of Martina's voice?
"Blew me away. Drove me crazy. A naturally wicked voice. I actually lost a girlfriend over it, because I listened to the track so much."
Martina couldn't see what he saw in it. She didn't hear the recording for two years and, in the meantime, had gotten into Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder and beating people up at Soundgarden gigs. What does she think of it now?
"I think it's really heavy. Not many pinks in it."
"I can't make anything happy or funky," rasps Tricky. "Depressing isn't it? Hehehehehheh."
'Aftermath' is out now on 4th & Broadway
photo: Jamie Reid
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