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Take a look through 3D’s window on the soul.
Robert Del Naja, alias 3D, is only too aware of the whispers surrounding the fifth Massive Attack album. “When people realised it was going to be mostly myself and Neil (Davidge), because of Mushroom leaving and (Daddy) G being unavailable, I think they thought it was going to be a real guitar-fest, very dark and very heavy,” he says, supping on soya milk tea. “Being stubborn I didn’t want to prove everyone right - I did completely the opposite, something a bit more gentle, more intricate and a bit more thoughtful.”
But one man’s thoughtful and intricate is another man’s dull, and it takes time to unravel the murky depths of 100th Window. Those hoping for a return to the accessible tunes of Blue Lines will be disappointed, and even Mezzanine’s stark bite is absent here. In its place are brooding, textured soundscapes that smuggle their way deeper into your consciousness on every listen. They literally creep up on you.
Vocalists this time include Sinead O’Connor, who contributes to three tracks, including Prayer For England, a song inspired by child murder and rape. “She comes with such a passion, I thought it was important to get some of that,” explains 3D. “Everything seems so predictable and generic right now, I wanted something that felt very human and real.” Reggae legend Horace Andy returns, adding soulful tones to two tracks, while 3D himself sings for the first time. “Well, it’s more like melodic whispers really,” he insists.
The album’s title is lifted from a book on computer security, but 3D is keen to play down the technology connection. “It’s a spiritual place, the third eye, the window to the soul… the place where you can communicate, without thinking.” You get the impression that it’s where he's most at home - sometimes using substances to get there. “Getting out of your head is important because it does what it says, you escape from yourself a little bit, you escape from the usual trappings of your personality”. Agreed, but does it help you produce good music? Over to you. Alastair Lee 06 February 03
100th Window, available 10 February 03 on Virgin Records.
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