Portishead: SOS

It’s been a while since I’ve been in a position to post anything new from Portishead, but that changes this week thanks to the release of their cover version of the ABBA classic, SOS. Originally recorded as part of the High-Rise soundtrack back in 2016, they have now given the track an official release through SoundCloud’s fan-powered royalty program. It’s quite amazing how much the song sounds like the perfect vehicle for the band, as soon as Beth Gibbons’ vocals emerge. The Swedish pop original is brimming with lament, which translates beautifully into this more atmospheric version. You can stream it for yourself below, with proceeds from the streams going to mental health charity, Mind.

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Hus Kingpin: Portishus

Big fan of the latest release from Hus Kingpin. Having already flirted with Portishead samples in the past, the New York rapper now returns with a full project inspired by the legendary Bristol band. And it is. Not just sample wise, although there are a few noticeable ones that creep in along the way, but more in the mournful, slightly melancholic sound that the production takes. Impressive features too, including a blinding appearance from Breeze Brewin on Chasing Ghosts. I’m also a big fan of the way they work an interview with Beth Gibbons into the intro of the track which takes her name as the title; good shit. You can hear a preview of the LP below, with physicals available via wavo3000.com.

An Ode to Dummy

On this day in 1994, an album was released that encapsulated what was known back then as “the Bristol Sound”. Trip hop was in its infancy and I don’t know if the term had even been coined at that stage – even though the main players all hated it when it was – but it existed and it drew on elements from multiple genres, including hip hop, funk, dub and sprinkle of psychedelia.
When Dummy was released I honestly didn’t know what to think of it. I was 14 and already well into hip hop, so there was plenty of stuff within the record that intrigued me, like the scratching on Mysterons or the beats on Strangers and Glory Box. But for the most part I was unsure. I think it probably took another year or so for me to fully appreciate its importance; then as with most things like that, I got obsessed with it. This was pre-internet so all my knowledge came from the liner notes and Geoff Barrow’s interviews.

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