I have a strange relationship with Tricky‘s late work. I liked Knowle West Boy quite a bit, but now I can’t remember a single song from it even if you put a gun to my head. I disliked Blowback, but the songs from it keep popping up in my head and are impossible to get rid of. I feel that Mixed Race will place itself somewhere in the middle – a couple of tracks will definitely stick with me for a while, and the rest will be forgotten as soon as I replace them with something new in my player. Which in the language of normal music reviewers would probably mean that Mixed Race is a decent record, but to call it ‘great’ would be a stretch. It is, as Tricky says himself, the most uptempo record he’s done yet, which definitely brings some freshness and makes the trademark darkness more tolerable. The whole thing is, for sure, a 110% Tricky – heavy drum lines pounding the shit out some funky sample with lyrics brutal and tender at the same time, – but the title doesn’t lie – Mixed Race presents a pretty intense mix of genres, rhythms, melodies and even languages and dialects (from Jamaican on “Bristol To London” to Arabic on the most unusual track on the album – hypnotic “Hakim”). The highest point is undoubtedly “Murder Weapon” – Tricky‘s reworking of the 90’s dancehall hit by Echo Minott (which is in turn based on “Peter Gunn Theme” by Henry Mancini). This is as gangsta as un-gangsta Tricky can ever get. Glorification of violence? Heck, yes, and so fucking what? “It’s not a fucking love song,” – says Tricky in “Kingston Logic”, another unexpected dance track from the gloomy trip-hopper. It’s about ghetto, and people living in it. And living in the ghetto is, I imagine, pretty intense. And so is this record.

R.I.Y.L.Roots Manuva, Techno Animal – Brotherhood Of The Bomb, shiny guns

personal favs: “Murder Weapon”, “Ghetto Stars”, “Kingston Logic”

Buy on Amazon.com

★★★½☆ tipkin’s rating

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