audiotrack Mezzanine

reviewed by Jill Hill

Published in Issue No. 16 ~ September, 1998

Bought this sight unseen, and had no idea what to expect. In the selling blurb it says that Massive Attack is a “British Dance Band,” but I can’t imagine what type of dancing could be done to this music? Maybe writhing?

If someone ever holds up the pet dog at a party with the idea of sacrificing it to some vengeful god out of Norse mythology, Mezzanine will set the mood. Unwaveringly dark and mysterious, Mezzanine weaves black magic. Even the titles are strange and seductive, “Angle,” “Dark Milk,” “Dissolved Girl,” “Teardrop.” A mix of funk, rap, and techno, Massive Attack is a remarkably sophisticated band with a Pink Floyd feel. On the third track, “Teardrop” opens with a heavy clicking that is reminiscent of a huge insect. The subtle voice of Sara Jay follows a barely discernible melody with a lyrics that are a haunting mix of images:

In the matter of the night
black flowers blossom
feather on my breath
black flowers blossom
feather on my breath

“Teardrop” is a really a beautiful song that manages to retain its beauty and still be disturbing – much like a graveyard after a rainstorm. Many of the songs, such as “Dissolved Girl,” are painful odes to the mystery of love and sex:

made to fade
passions overrated anyway
say my name
I need a little love to ease my pain.

The track begins with an almost hospital sound of blood being pumped and then the bass begins and hits the stomach. All the while Sara Jay’s breathy voice chants the lyrics.

An altogether fetching CD.

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Jill Hill lives with some kids, some dogs, writes, and manages a restaurant where she tries out her new CD's. She listens to a variety of music, from Classical to Blues, but tries to stay away from most rap. In her words: "I am always on the look out for a new band or singer/songwriter that I will like. I like a CD that does not grow old and weary sounding, which mean I don't want buy a CD that can be found on the used CD sale table a month later. One of my favorite CD's is Neal Young's Everyone Knows this is Nowhere. My favorite writer is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and my favorite novel of his Of Love and Other Demons. X-Files is about the only TV I watch. I do not watch sitcoms and do not like music inspired by sitcoms. I'd rather listen to a sampled rap version of the Jetsons theme song."