Saturday, August 25, 2012

Artist of the Day: Portishead

As far as downtempo, depressing lo-fi music goes, Portishead is pretty hard to top. They've had a colorful history, popularizing trip hop all around the world, along with fellow English bands Massive Attack and Red Snapper. However, there was something about Portishead that marked something significantly bigger and better about the genre (at least with their debut release of Dummy in 1994) than anything Red Snapper or Massive Attack had done yet: they focused their sound on 60's and 70's soundtrack vinyl LPs, and brought in a vocalist. Beth Gibbons brought a whole new world of possibility to what these electronic artists were doing by adding jazz-ballad style vocals over a slowly crawling electronic loop, and the result was explosive.

However, after the release of their sophomore self-titled, the band somewhat lost direction, going on hiatus for six years in 1999. Or maybe it didn't involve losing direction, so much as finding a new sound, because after coming back from hiatus in 2005, Geoff Barrow revealed that they'd been refining and recording for a new album. Third was finally finished three years after he'd made that statement, but to the acclaim that Dummy had been received so many years earlier. Unfortunately, after Third, and a bunch of touring, the band wants to get back into the studio, but doesn't really have the motivation. So, we'll see what comes out of Portishead in the next couple of years. If a new album hits shelves by 2014 or so, great! If not, don't be surprised if I say I told you so.

You can keep up with them on their site, and they have a couple of their music videos available for viewing.

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