|Tricky presents Skilled Mechanics|
Skilled Mechanics' regular members are Tricky and Luke Harris, DJ Milo (Milo Johnson) contributes to 5 tracks on the album. Several guests are contributing vocals: Oh Land, Ann Dao, Ivy, Francesca Belmonte, Renata Platon (aka Xdare).
Tricky on the name Skilled Mechanics: "There was an ex-C.I.A. agent on this programme speaking about assassins who were sent abroad by the US to start revolutions and topple governments. He called them ‘skilled mechanics.’ I thought that was a great name for someone who was a killer basically. The name was so dark and cynical it just stuck with me."
'Skilled Mechanics' is released in the following formats:
CD Europe (K7328CD, 13 tracks)
LP Europe (K7328LP, 13 tracks, CD included)
digital (K7328D, 13 tracks)
CD Japan (K7CDJ-328, 13 tracks + bonus download track)
The Japanese CD should have been released on January 27, but it seems to be postponed to February 10. It has a download code for the bonus track "Waiting For Hours", used in the film Sophie Sees (for details go 'movies don't move me'), unfortunately it is just 1:45 min long.
Listen or buy the songs by clicking on the titles (will open a new tab or window):
"We Begin" is already released on the deluxe edition of 'Anima' by Francesca Belmonte in a longer version (3:20 instead of 1:35). Unreal is on Xdare's Soundcloud in a longer version, too.
Tricky about 'Boy':
Beijing To Berlin:
Beijing To Berlin:
Click on the song title or go here to see all the lyrics.
Diving Away (original 'Porpoise Head' by Porno For Pyros, 1996)
Bother (original 'Bother' by Stone Sour, 2002)
Stone Sour is a project name for Corey Taylor, member of Slipknot. You can read more about the song Bother on Wikipedia.
Tricky about Diving Away:
"I toured with them in Australia in 1996. My daughter Mazy, who was about four years of age, was with us and she had frontman Perry Farrell wrapped round her little finger. He took all of us to Sealand in Australia. So there was me and Porno For Pyros all trying to get her pram onto the Australian metro. But how many big artists would do something beautiful like that? I think it speaks volumes about him. So I’ve got a lot of love for Perry Farrell and I’ve always wanted to cover one of his songs." (press release on Stereogum)
Tricky about Bother:
"I imagine people will be surprised at this. But when Luke and I went into the studio I knew he could sing but I didn't know what kind of voice he had. I had to know so I could write for it in the future. So I said we should cover a song he really loved. And he said that when he was really young he used to listen to this song all the time, on his headphones. So we covered it because he was obsessed by it." (press release, Pitchfork)
Details can be found at cover me.
How's Your Life samples Larry Carlton - High Steppin'
Necessary samples Tricky - Silly Games
Details and older samples are here: they ask my origin.
The Line Of Best Fit:
Twenty one years since his Mercury Prize nominated debut solo album Maxinquaye emerged, Tricky may have finally delivered one that can stand proudly equal alongside it. (8.5 of 10)
The whole thing comes off as an imaginary radio station where the DJ plays his own stuff and mixes himself into other artist's tracks, so if alternate views and unclassifiable collections are desired, isn't a lark or a side project but a necessity. (4 of 5)
Drowned In Sound:
The punchy synthpop you played with on Adrian Thawes has calcified into some perfectly sleazy gems this time, especially the Soft Cell-ish 'Here My Dear' and the bouncy, Egyptian Lover-ish 'Heroe'. Yet still you strike like a spider, laying gossamer snares first and crawling down to your prey later. (7 of 10)
Despite these mis-hits, Skilled Mechanics seethes with low-level, lo-fi menace, its spare instrumentation creating an unsettling queasiness that will have been familiar to Tricky’s admirers since 1995’s Maxinquaye. (3 of 5)
Record Collector Mag:
His best attributes are his assured rapping and his less than assured worldview, but these are like a cherished faraway radio channel, lost among the pop elements he’s allowed to crowd the dial (partly obscuring his sometimes undercooked lyrics). (2 of 5)
Musikexpress Sounds: - IN GERMAN
Zwischendurch: Knapp bekleidete Electro-Beautys, leicht verstörte Stomper, ein wenig Budenzauber aus TripHophausen, die Abmischung passt. SKILLED MECHANICS ist ein gelungener Neustart geworden, der mit eher kleinen Mitteln die Tür zu Größerem öffnet. (4 of 6)
As bare-bones as “Skilled Mechanics” is, it’s a collaborative endeavor that proves Tricky is in fine form. After a lull in the early 2000s, the man’s been on a newfound creative streak since 2008’s “Knowle West Boy.” Whether he’s on his own or with friends, let’s hope he doesn’t stop making music any time soon.
Intro: - IN GERMAN
Die Stimmung des typischen Tricky-Sounds lässt sich zumindest für Kenner seines Frühwerks noch heraushören, nur besitzt sie lange nicht mehr den Nachdruck früherer Tage. Völlig unklar bleibt auch, wohin Tricky mit »Skilled Mechanics« eigentlich will. Das weitgehend erschreckend blutleere Album lässt erahnen, dass es eigentlich nur noch aufs Altenteil sein kann. (2 of 5)
Music Is My Oxygen:
But although Skilled Mechanics doesn’t always see Tricky firing on all cylinders, it’s still another highly intriguing piece of work which suggests that he should embrace its team mentality more often.
Laut: - IN GERMAN
Gerade mal 35 Minuten braucht Tricky, um seine 13 neuen Stücke unterzubringen, da bleibt es natürlich nicht aus, dass manche Tracks einen skizzenhaften Eindruck vermitteln. Doch gerade daraus zieht "Skilled Mechanics" seine Stärke: Der alte "Hero" Tricky unterzieht sich einer Entschlackungskur, bringt verschiedene Stile zusammen und bleibt dabei immer schön kurzweilig.
It’s probably his darkest-sounding, most claustrophobic album since 1998’s Angels with Dirty Faces, although that record’s righteous, burning anger has been replaced by the slow, steady drip of implied menace. (6 of 10)
Skilled Mechanics feels like someone flung a fistful of white labels in your face at a Bristol underground show, which is a sly and conscious salute to Tricky’s own history in the British music scene. (3 of 5)
The Arts Desk:
Tricky navigates a kind of penumbra, a fertile and ever-renewing source of inspiration in which his mixed-race, gender-fluid self can re-invent itself periodically, while staying true to his roots and his unique self-taught take on the world of electronics and beats. (4 of 5)
- this review is written by Mark Kidel, who directed 'Naked and Famous' and also reviewed 'Adrian Thaws' here -
Plattentests: - IN GERMAN
Überhaupt ist "Skilled mechanics" zuweilen eine ähnliche Reise in die Vergangenheit wie der Vorgänger "Adrian Thaws": Der rollende Upbeat-Track "Hero" verweist auf Thaws' Anfänge als MC, "How's your life" und "Necessary" rekapitulieren den TripHop aus "Maxinquaye"-Zeiten, wobei sich in letzteres Stück kurz der "Adrian Thaws"-Song "Silly games" verirrt, als kleines Update quasi. (6 of 10)
Skilled Mechanics sounds too studio-ready, as if produced with unobtrusive presets to deliver trip-hop beats sans trip.
(2.8 of 5)
|articles, interviews, specials|
Factmag: TRICKY ANNOUNCES ALBUM... (November 18, 2015)
Just a short article about the release, infos taken from an official press release
*Liberation: MAINTENANT, IL EST TEMPS DE RACONTER...* (January 18, 2016) - FRENCH
French interview about the new album Skilled Mechanics, why it took so long to work with Milo again, living in Berlin and more. In this interview he mentions that he put out some underground Hip Hop vinyl with Milo in New York (300 copies) that no ones know about! What could that be? Maybe "God's Bass" (see discography here)? Or maybe something else that we don't know about? They had a project with other American and British rappers called Drunkenstein, but I never saw any release of it...
*Deutschlandradio: DANKBAR AUCH FÜR DAS DUNKLE...* (January 19, 2016) - GERMAN
This radio interview has a transcript, but you can also listen to it (when you click on "Beitrag hören" or the play symbol in the first pic, unfortunately it is dubbed in German). It's not sooo interesting, but during the interview you can hear the track "Bother" with Luke Harris (starting at about 7.35 min left), which was unreleased at that time.
*Flux FM: TRICKY INTERVIEW* (January 19, 2016) - AUDIO
This is a radio interview with Tricky on FluxFM that he did after the one on Deutschlandradio - he even mentions it in the interview. You can listen to it on Soundcloud, it's all in English and not dubbed! Most interesting news:
- Skilled Mechanics are Tricky and Luke Harris with different guests
- they want to release a second album next year
- the track with Oh Land is 6 years old and was recorded for her album, but because she was dropped from her record label he could use the song
- he wants to finish his project with Russian rappers this year (or next year)
*030 Magazin Berlin: DIE BEATLES SIND MIR EGAL* (January 21, 2016) - GERMAN
Interesting interview about Berlin, the next single "Boy", that he's not sad about what happened in this life, but happy that it gives him something to write about. He would call "Skilled Mechanics" an urban-soul-album, especially the songs with Milo. He also says that music makes the artist and not the other way around.
*Bayern 2 podcast: TRICKY PORTRAIT* (January 21, 2016) - AUDIO, GERMAN
This is a short radio podcast, a mix between a review (called "Skilled Mechanics" a solid album) and an interview. You can also listen here, if the other link doesn't work.
*Resident Advisor: TRICKY INTERVIEW* (January 21, 2016) - AUDIO
This is a long and in depth radio interview about Tricky's childhood, Knowle West and so much more. You can download it on their site or listen to it on Soundcloud.
*i-D: IT'S TRICKY...* (January 27) - GERMAN
Since this interview is in German, I'll try to paraphrase the most important things:
- Tricky likes to work with unknown artists, it makes him happy to see his drummer so exited about this release
- he releases a song like 'Boy' now, because it's just about him and couldn't be sung by anyone else (and when he releases as Tricky his vocals are not so present)
- he recorded the album in summer, Luke and Milo being in his appartment in Berlin, cooking, recording, it was fun
- he is very relaxed and happy in Berlin, and that makes it possible to create music, in London he only went out and didn't record much
- his songs are mostly short, because he doesn't want to "stretch" them unnaturally, a song tells you when it's finished, he doesn't make singles, but an album
- at the end he talks about "Take it there" with Massive Attack: he never thought he would work with them ever again, but now he talked to 3D on the phone and it feels like they are friends again, maybe they will even record more this year!!!
*Notion Magazine: TRICKY INTERVIEW* (February 18)
Interview about Skilled Mechanics, most interesting parts: he explains how Beijing To Berlin came to be and why he chose 'Unreal' as the last track on the album, also why he can tell different stories on Skilled Mechanics than on Tricky albums.
*Berliner Zeitung: SÄNGER TRICKY: DIESE METROPOLE...* (February 26) - IN GERMAN
Short interview, mostly about living in Berlin...
*Berliner Morgenpost: TRICKY: ICH HABE BERLIN GEHASST* (March 1) - IN GERMAN
Short interview, again mostly about his life in Berlin.
*Mix Online: S.MECHANICS BLEND ORGANIC INSTRUMENTS WITH STUDIO WIZARDRY* (March 3)
This is a short interview with Francois Kerjan, Tricky's engineer for the past 7 years. He explains a lot of technical stuff, I don't understand half of it. But if you're into that, have fun.