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  • Writer's pictureCallai Watson

#2 Portishead, "Dummy"

The next album of the month is selected by Chazz from The Meanies.

As always, we ask our selectors a few questions as to why the chose their album, have a read below of Chazz' interview.

Visual from our Instagram feature

What album are you listening to this month?

What is your favourite track off of the album?

Although it’s almost uncool to choose the most popular song from the album, I have absolutely no hesitation in naming Glory Box as my favourite. This song is a modern (maybe not so modern anymore) masterpiece and sits comfortably in my top 5 tracks of all time. As the album almost comes to an end, Glory Box perfectly fades the volume up to reveal It’s totally unique, genre defying, heartbreaking soundscape of melancholy which had me wondering what the hell I’d just heard back in January ‘95.

Remember; this was before the word Trip hop had came swaying out of the Bristol clubs at 6am, it was a perfect mixture of regimented snare drum, silky bass, jazz guitar, with Hip Hop DJ on the 1210’s sampling Isaac Hayes’ Ike’s Rap - 2, and as if that wasn’t enough for the perfect ‘comedown’ (if there is such a thing) well…

Then of course we have the cherry on top, the most awe inspiring, atmospheric vocal by Beth Gibbons *I always picture her puffing on a fag as she sings this song*. On this song in particular; her passionate yet somber offering on love, frustration and courage has almost left me wondering how much better it would sound being a woman. Then as the song fades the volume back down to silent close - I guess I’ll never know…

Where do you listen to it?

It was back in 95 when I bought the Glory Box CD single, but it was much later before I really delved into the whole album - Dummy. I’m so glad it was later too as I needed a few more years under my belt to completely appreciate the textures of sound, pain, hope and anguish that this record has to offer.

I really like to listen to this record whilst driving, or a Sunday afternoon in the house buzzing around the kitchen cooking something really earthy and wholesome as that’s how it makes me feel. Although I have spent most time listening to this album amongst friends in the early hours of the morning after the night before, if you get my gist. To rephrase something I’ve read elsewhere - There are albums to make love to, albums to fight to and albums to overdose to and this record fits the bill for all three occasions.

How did you discover this album?

I had been aware of this album since it beat Oasis’ Definitely Maybe to the Mercury prize in 1995, which at the time perplexed me but looking back for me shows forward thinking and innovation from the Mercury judges. This album was helping to create a new age of music and genre while others were regurgitating sounds of the past.

Although as previously mentioned it was around 2000 before I gave this record the time and effort it deserved. For me, all good albums need to grow and be lived with for them to have longevity, instant hits seem to fade into obscurity pretty quickly it seems. I’ve had Dummy as a go to ‘safe space’ record now for many a year and still think it shows that new sounds or production techniques are still out there. Although you really do have to think it was written in the wandering stars to get these musicians together at the same time and place with the same vision to create something that still sounds as fresh today as it did back in the good old 1990’s.

Click here to listen to Chazz' playlist, including tracks from corto.alto and Fela Kuti.

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