The Trip-hop boom in the 90s gave us some of the greatest seminal albums of the decade, which is not surprising as Trip-hop has something in it for everyone. With a fusion of hip-hop jazz and electronica, and it can even contain elements of rock, funk and house music.
Though highly experimental Trip-hop is still as relevant as ever and if you don't believe me here’s five reasons that’ll convince you.
Reason one is an album called Dummy by the Bristol based trio Portishead. A trio consisting of Beth Gibbons on vocals Adrian Utley on guitar and Geoff Barrow on percussion and mixing.
Their 1994 debut smashed the British scene wide open, with their sprawling jazz style guitars and hip-hop style beats. The album won the Mercury prize and achieved international success.
Beth gibbons harrowing vocals on tracks like ‘Roads’ have become a key element behind Portisheads’ music and the low tempo beats perfectly compliment her range. While ‘Roads’ is made great by the vocals, the track ‘Glory Box’ is a feast of spidery guitar riffs and great mixing from the other two members. Ultimately the Jazz infused guitar layered with hip-hop style beats make for some great Trip-Hop.
The 2005 masterpiece Demon Dayz by the virtual band Gorrilaz is a the brainchild of former blur frontman Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett.
Consisting of four ‘virtual’ members, the bands second album Demon Dayz takes huge influences from Hip-Hop with rapper Roots Manuva and Hip-Hop trio De La Soul featuring on the album, among others.
The on-going narrative woven through the album was new to Trip-Hop, with Albarn saying that the album is meant to be a depiction of a journey through the night in which each track represents a confrontation with a personal 'demon'.
These Themes and ideas make Demon Dayz more comparable to pop music rather than the Portishead style Trip-hop people had come to expect from the genre.
Massive Attack are an english Trip-hop group, that have been a staple of the scene and have been huge influences on bands like Portishead and Gorrilaz.
Mezzanine is the third studio album by the band and invokes dark undercurrents to give the album a nightmare like feel. It's a big departure from the laidback jazz style they had become known for. The album draws inflences from the dark side of human nature most notably in tracks like 'Teardrop' and 'Black Milk'.
The need to go back and re-listen again and again...
Trip-hop is a strange genre. A genre that has it's bad days in the past but the differance between trip-hop and grunge is that grunge is a time capsule and a product of it's era.
Trip-hop is still as relevant now as it was in the 90s. Beth Gibbons lyrics of doubt and insecurity still strike a chord with todays listeners. Gorrilaz 'Feel Good Inc' is still an absolute banger and has a video that is so good people don't laugh when you describe it as art.
So sure we probably won't get better trip-hop albums than those of the 90s but those albums still have immense relevance and are still a fucking great listen frankly!
Insane live shows
Back in 2013 Portishead headlined the other stage at Glastonbury and were pitted agaisnt The Arctic Monkeys on the Pyramid, and while one band did pretty good the trio from Bristol blew everyone away.
The band have almost adopted blue as their offical colour and there is nothing like hearing Beth Gibbons blast out the Poignant lyrics to 'Glory Box' amongst a blue tinted crowd.
Bearing in mind this is a band who have only released three albums that's hardly a lot considering they're debut came out in 1995, yet they can still headline stadiums and keep crowds happy and that's not easy, ask Coldplay.