Massive Attack | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Progenitors of England's rap scene as part of the Wild Bunch back in the mid-80s and more recently movers in the trip-hop movement, Massive Attack are a musical collective bursting with ideas. More than just another batch of tunes, their second album, Protection (Virgin), masterfully dissects pop music. The group's core members--3-D, Mushroom, and Daddy G--are conceptualists who spend more time evolving particular approaches than they do behind instruments. A dizzying, remarkably smooth melange, Massive Attack's music draws liberally from reggae, hip-hop, soul, ambient, and other obscure dance musics; a wide variety of vocalists and instrumentalists cater to the needs of any given song. The group's first album, Blue Lines, introduced singer Shara Nelson and rapper Tricky, who've both gone on to successful solo careers, while the latest album houses performances by Everything but the Girl's Tracey Thorn, reggae crooner Horace Andy, and new soul diva Nicolette. Using a loose adaptation of a sound system--the booming DJ system used in reggae to mix records with live rappers--the group's live show will combine a live band, banks of high-tech equipment, and a variety of DJs and vocalists, including the sweet-voiced Andy. As No Protection, a jarring, fascinating album of dub remixes by Mad Professor, establishes, Massive Attack aren't content to offer up carbon copies of their tunes; expect plenty of sonic pillaging and deconstruction. Pop only in a postmodern sense, their music offers a rare example of technology harnessed into something truly fluid, flexible, and human. Tuesday, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Eddie Monsoon.

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