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CD: Tricky – Tricky Presents Skilled Mechanics | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tricky – Tricky Presents Skilled Mechanics

CD: Tricky – Tricky Presents Skilled Mechanics

The Tricky Kid keeps the Bristol flame burning

Trickster or magical assassin? Tricky's uneasy middle-ground

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.

His latest album maintains the high standards he has established over the last few years. The restlessness that’s taken him to New York to Paris, back to London and now to Berlin, is reflected in the sombre edginess of the music, and in his willingness to experiment with collaborations, inspired by the creative presence of others, while still making the music his own.

There are first-time vocals by his drummer Luke Harris. Chinese rapper Ivy gives a blistering performance on “Beijing to Berlin”, in which her feisty style is subtly undermined by Tricky’s sotto voce rhymes. So much of Tricky’s creative brilliance comes from undermining popular genres, and connecting with his own sheaf of vulnerabilities, not least the asthma that has both cramped his style and provided a source of energy and inspiration. Tricky replaces the bellicose attitude of so much hip hop with seductive in-your-ear intimacy. There is the menace of latent violence, too, as in the slightly unhinged love song “Here My Dear”.

For this album, Tricky has gone back to his childhood mate DJ Milo, a member of the legendary Wild Bunch collective which spawned Massive Attack, with whom the Tricky Kid cut his teeth. Although much of the album is experimental, there are moments that feel like (mostly welcome) flashbacks to the sounds first created for Maxinquaye: subtle and almost minimal electronic manipulations, which act as mood-changing triggers because they’re never over-used. For all the running away from his hometown – and who wouldn’t, given the trauma he experienced in his youth – Tricky still draws on the darkness that bred his genius. “Boy”, one of the many highlights of the album, is as honest an account of his troubled youth as he has ever given us: as sharp and lethal as a razor blade, but not without a heart-stopping dose of emotion that saves the therapeutic exercise from any kind of self-indulgence.

For all the running away from his hometown,Tricky still draws on the darkness that bred his genius

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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