"Let me tell you about my mother…" One of the ultimate late night records of the nineties; when that first few seconds of loopy bongos and breathy flute hits on track 1, YKWTFGO. Named after Tricky Kid's late mother Maxine Quaye, whose suicide when he was just 4 years old casts a dark shadow over the record ("your eyes resemble mine, you'll see as no others can, inherit my kingdom, speak of our people’s plans"). Tricky gets on the mic only occasionally, choosing instead to transmit his lyrics and weed-infused paranoia through his baby mother and then-muse, the lovely Martina Topley-Bird (who, in addition to her slept-on solo works, would later contribute to Massive Attack’s Heligoland, Gorillaz’ Demon Days and Diplo’s Florida). Mark Saunders lends his engineering expertise to these sessions (he also worked on The Cure’s Mixed Up), handling the bulk of the programming and dubbing, leaving Tricky to occupy the role of the master mood-setter: gathering samples and personnel, keeping the skunk and vibes flowing. Alarmingly raw compared to the prim-and-polished studio wizardry of Massive Attack, both Tricky and Saunders were relatively inexperienced with samplers so the results are delightfully haphazard: dodgy pitch-shifting ("Overcome"), straight loops ("Pumpkin"), the biggest pop artist in the world ("Brand New You’re Retro), sometimes just blatantly stealing the latest hit record from the guys down the road ("Hell Is Round The Corner"). You’ll recognize some of the lyrics if you’re already familiar with Massive’s Protection: Tricky was part of the Blue Lines roster and had promised some vocals for Protection even though he was on his way out, so he recycled lyrics which were already reserved for Maxinquaye. "I just make what I hear and then me and Martina sing all the words on paper, putting the emphasis on the things that perhaps shouldn't be sung" (head straight for "Abbaon Fat Tracks" to get a taste what he's talking about). Predating the works of Dean Blunt, FKA Twigs, Tirzah, Grimes, serpentwithfeet, Ghostpoet and so on and so forth, Maxinquaye is the gold standard for brooding electronic soul in the 21st century; a true classic. Best tracks: "Overcome," "Aftermath," "Feed Me," "Pumpkin" (Alison Goldfrapp on vocals!), "Suffocated Love," "Abbaon Fat Tracks" and "Hell Is Round The Corner." Official 2018 repress in replica gatefold jacket with printed insert, highly recommended.
- 180g vinyl pressing
- gatefold jacket
- includes printed insert
- original release year: 1995
- music label: Island Records 2018
reviewed by military 2step 10/2018