Out 16 Aug
   The fourth album from the Bristol trip hop master and part-time pugilist finds Tricky collaborating with big-shot hip hop producers DJ Muggs (Cypress
Hill) and Grease from DMX. Tricky now lives in New Jersey and has recently been talking up his current drugs du jour - Prozac and Viagra.
   At 1998's Glastonbury, Tricky was seemingly upset by things other than the nasty weather. Upon entering Select's backstage hospitality tent, he struck up an argument with a journalist - an argument he brought to a conclusion by kicking the writer in the head. A couple of years before this pro-am martial arts display he announced that he'd written lyrics about shooting another journalist "in the fucking face" for criticising his relationship with his daughter. Tricky later claimed it was merely idle banter: he was a musician not a thug. The Glastonbury incident, however, was followed by a series of belligerent live shows and an album, "Angels With Dirty Faces", that was so impenetrably dark that a duet with PJ Harvey ("Broken Homes") counted as light relief. The Suggestion was that he was headed for  self-destruction. But, at least as far as his music goes, this couldn't have been more wrong.
    'Juxtapose' is the first Tricky album since 1995's debut 'Maxinquaye' that you can sing along to in its entirety (admittedly, occasionally breaking into the vocal style of a Methedrine-fuelled Jawa). More importantly, it's also the first time he's escaped the shadow of that powerful opening gambit. For two albums Tricky hoped to outrun that album's impact by growing ever bleaker. This time, he's reached towards the light.
   Old sparring partner and mother of Tricky's child, Martina Topley-Bird, is conspicuous by her absence. Instead he's joined by the throatier Kioka Williams and a former London Posse MC known as Mad Dog. Factor in expert and expansive production assistance from Grease of East Coast rappers DMX and Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs, and the result is warm, even inviting.
    Opener 'For Real' glides along on acoustic guitar and healthy self- deprecation ("It's not real/Just passing time/it's not real/all i do is rhyme"). It's about his place in the music business, a familiar Tricky theme but one that previously only generated ire and paranoia. Now he adds wit and perspective. 'Contradictive', a compelling mix of bossa nova and yet more acoustic guitar demands that you "Reflect on life", while the closing 'Luv' declares, "It's a long time/Since I've seen love". It's a sign of the genuine tenderness at the core of 'Juxtapose', though we probably won't be seeing the Trickster getting touchy-feely with Claire Rayner just yet: Mad Dog's porno fantasy 'I Like Girls' ("Met two girls in a restaurant/Didn't know the hookers was lesbians") sees to that.
    Tricky's position as one of the decade's most compelling figures now
seems assured. He's once again playing to his strengths and leaving the old
weaknesses (bloody mindedness, aversion to tunes) behind. The gloves, it
seems, really are off. 4/5




Fighting man Tricky limbers up for another round of popular parlour game
Bash The Journalist

Are you living permanently in America now?
"No I'm in Britain all the time. My family's here. But when I'm in America I
live in New Jersey. In a forest. I've got two acres. I moved from Britain
because I was bored wieverything. Bored with music. Bored with people. Why?
I abused it. Man. I was going to the so-called right clubs with trendy
fuckers. I went to the wrong places. And I ended up hating my life."

Who do you hang out with now?
"I don't hang about with trendy fuckers, man. All these DJs and producers
with all their regular clubs. They all think they're so fucking cool. And
they're all trying to emulate America but they're too scared to go there.
When I go out, I go out with old friends. Last time I went out to a club in
New York I flew in some friends from Bristol. Two kids I went to school
with, two of my cousins and one of my best mates."

The 'Angels With Dirty Faces' album got mixed reviews...
"It was just England. And that's about a guy getting knocked out at Glastonbury and about me moving off to America. That's all personal, man. They don't like too much success. People in England say I'm paranoid, da da da... People don't know fuck all about me. They know nothing about my music, even."

So what did happen last year at Glastonbury?

Something obviously did because you were reported to have hit someone...
"Do you want to ask the next question?"

Are you much happier now than, say, when the last album was released?
"I don't know. If you were here now [the interview is being conducted over
the phone] I'd probably punch you in your head. For real."

Why is that?
"Cos you've got attitude mate. I ain't a cocky c***. So you don't be a cocky
c*** and we'll get on alright. Be a cocky c*** with me, I'll be a cocky c***
with you."

Fair enough.