Inertia Creeps
October 19, 2018 9:16 AM   Subscribe

For the 20th anniversary of Mezzanine, arguably one of the best and most important albums of the '90s, Massive Attack has decided to not only release a deluxe, re-mastered version of the album, but following in the footsteps of avant-garde Canadian poet Christian Bök's Xenotext, and in a move unlikely to quell rumours that Robert "3D" Del Naja is actually Banksy, they are releasing it as synthetic DNA suspended in a can of matte black spray paint.

Although for some reason they misspelled "matte" on the can.

More on Mezzanine.
posted by Fish Sauce (55 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
But is it a lossless format?
posted by Kyol at 9:22 AM on October 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


WTF Matte?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:24 AM on October 19, 2018 [11 favorites]


Matt Black? AKA half of Coldcut? I didn't know he/they were working with Massive Attack.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:29 AM on October 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I absolutely love Mezzanine, but I had to stop listening to it for a long time just to get some distance from it. It was so pervasive in TV and movies for so long. I just recently started revisiting it a bit, and it still sounds amazing.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:30 AM on October 19, 2018 [16 favorites]


Thank you for this!!! I love Massive Attack and Mezzinine is a work of brilliance and dark beauty.
posted by supermedusa at 9:34 AM on October 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


Love, love is a verb/Love is a doing word

Words to live by. Love this album.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:38 AM on October 19, 2018 [8 favorites]


Considering that I don't think I have a working CD player, and definitely don't have a working audiocassette, record, or 8-track player, for me this is neither here nor there.
posted by heatherlogan at 9:51 AM on October 19, 2018


One of the finest Couch Lock stoned-out-of-my-mind albums. I should make a list.

Every man in siiiiiight
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:53 AM on October 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


I once called in sick to work because I wanted to sit in a dark room and listen to the album uninterrupted.
posted by Fish Sauce at 9:59 AM on October 19, 2018 [18 favorites]


It would be pretty amazing to find out Banksy is actually Del Naja and crew.

Now we just need the KLF to come back and pump out the jams.
posted by loquacious at 9:59 AM on October 19, 2018 [8 favorites]


From the Paris Review link, "Twenty years later, that album still sounds like tomorrow." Exactly.
posted by Slothrup at 10:02 AM on October 19, 2018 [16 favorites]


I want this a lot and yet I don't want it. Interesting.
posted by egypturnash at 10:10 AM on October 19, 2018


Considering that I don't think I have a working CD player, and definitely don't have a working audiocassette, record, or 8-track player, for me this is neither here nor there.

Did you sell them to buy a TV?
posted by thelonius at 10:10 AM on October 19, 2018 [8 favorites]


Just queued it up. Will be listening to this at loud volume while I work.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:12 AM on October 19, 2018


Just queued it up. Will be listening to this at loud volume while I work.

As my daughter likes to say, "SAME"
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:19 AM on October 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Thanks for this. Love this album still.
posted by rtha at 10:23 AM on October 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


the Banksy thing is...interesting. (like, if so, so much talent in one person!!!!!!)
posted by supermedusa at 10:28 AM on October 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I told my friend about the DNA-encoded album and it was absolutely a mistake, because it turns out he is incredibly high and has decided that he should eat Mezzanine in DNA form. He is aware that it is paint.
posted by one of these days at 10:28 AM on October 19, 2018 [18 favorites]


also sorry if this is way TMI but Mezzanine is wonderful to have sex to
posted by supermedusa at 10:30 AM on October 19, 2018 [16 favorites]


The opening lyrics to "Inertia Creeps" are one of my favorite opening verses ever:

Recollect me darling, raise me to your lips
Two undernourished egos, four rotating hips
Hold on to me tightly, I'm a sliding scale

posted by yasaman at 10:36 AM on October 19, 2018 [7 favorites]


The structure of the verses is interesting, too, because it bends the rhyming scheme, continuing with:

Can't endure, then you can inhale ... clearly
Out of body experience interferes
And dreams of flying, I fit nearly
Surrounds me, though I get lonely ... slowly


All around good, good stuff.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:52 AM on October 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Did you sell them to buy a TV?

I've never bought a TV. We had one for a few years that was a gift. We eventually ditched it when moving.

I've got a computer though.
posted by heatherlogan at 11:00 AM on October 19, 2018


One spray can contains around one million copies

They only have to sell one can to go platinum
posted by chavenet at 11:04 AM on October 19, 2018 [7 favorites]


I love this but more importantly I support the excited paint-eater mentioned above. He Is Valid.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:12 AM on October 19, 2018 [7 favorites]


yes I am imagining some sort of xfiles black goo transformation. he eats the paint and millions of copies of mezzanine are like, activated inside of him...and he becomes something else, something new, something we could never have imagined...

tell me you wouldn't watch that movie?
posted by supermedusa at 11:16 AM on October 19, 2018 [10 favorites]


As someone who lived in Bristol during the late 90s when Banksy stuff first started appearing I’d be VERY surprised if he was a member of Massive Attack. The rumour was he was a bloke working in a print shop around Stokes Croft.
posted by tomp at 11:19 AM on October 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine from Bristol who was involved in that community in a minor way has told me it's an open secret there that Banksy is Robin Cunningham, but "open secrets" are bullshit as often as not.
posted by Fish Sauce at 11:28 AM on October 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


We are all Banksy. Also, none of us is Banksy.*

*There is no Cabal Banksy**

**This comment will self destruct in 5 seconds
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:28 AM on October 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Another seminal album that I completely missed. Was I even alive during this time?
posted by slogger at 11:30 AM on October 19, 2018


he eats the paint and millions of copies of mezzanine are like, activated inside of him [...]

That is approximately his thought process! I told him it'd be like downloading a bunch of Wikipedia articles onto a USB stick and eating that to try and absorb its knowledge, but he just keeps repeating "genetic fusion!" He's great.

I should request it be made available in pill form or maybe some kind of body lotion.
posted by one of these days at 11:35 AM on October 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Honestly this album, Fat of the Land, White Pony, and Midnight Marauders are more-or-less all of the music I'd need for the apocalypse.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:36 AM on October 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Mezzanine and the first two albums were and are simply mindblowing. From the first metronome clicks as the album opens, you know it's going to change your definition of what is possible. Still fresh and still current.
posted by arcticseal at 11:47 AM on October 19, 2018


I should request it be made available in pill form

Take the red pill.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:50 AM on October 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure there are Banksy fan forums that discuss his works as soon as they appear. I expect it's possible to get dates and locations from that.

Massive Attack performances are ticketed events, so it's certainly possible to get dates and locations from that.

Comparing the two shouldn't be too hard for anyone who really cares.
posted by swr at 12:22 PM on October 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


I bought this when it came out and I have absolutely no idea how or why because I was 13 and into indie and Not At All Cool. Good work, weird teenage me. Fantastic album.
posted by corvine at 12:26 PM on October 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: **This comment will self destruct in 5 seconds

At least part of it will ;)


swr: Comparing [Banksy and Massive Attack show dates] shouldn't be too hard for anyone who really cares.

According to Wikipedia, done and done, and debunked:
In September 2016, blogger Craig Williams claimed Robert '3D' Del Naja was in fact the elusive graffiti artist Banksy or as an alternative theory, that Banksy is in fact a group of artists led by Del Naja and associated with the band. Rumours quickly spread by tabloids. Williams plotted Banksy artwork appearances and noticed they coincided with some of Massive Attack tour dates. Del Naja immediately dismissed the claims saying "He is a mate as well, he's been to some of the gigs. It's purely a matter of logistics and coincidence, nothing more than that."
And if you want more of Massive Attack, they're still pretty active, musically, as seen by their Wikipedia discography and alternatively their Discogs discography, with their latest output in 2016.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:33 PM on October 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I love Mezzanine. I wasn't a huge Massive Attack fan when it came out, I had Blue Lines and Protection but not the remix albums, but I listened to that album so much I even had my computer play the CD as my morning alarm. I don't know how many months I spent waking up to Angel.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:43 PM on October 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


@filthy light thief: 2016's Ritual Spirit was really good. Easily the best thing they've put out since Mezzanine, imo.
posted by Fish Sauce at 12:58 PM on October 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Weird, but deserving that Mezzanine is so lauded. It definitely got a lukewarm response at the time as a departure from their previous albums. I think Q magazine might have liked it.

Never owned it myself but I had the singles for the mostly decent remixes ("all the variations you can do with me") and remember being particularly disappointed that the Manic Street Preachers' take on Inertia Creeps was so uninspired compared to the excellent Massive Attack remix of "If You Tolerate This....". Damon Albarn's Speak'n'Spell sampling "A is for Apple" take on Angel was pleasantly odd, if nothing in comparison to the song proper.

Will have to stick this on the Christmas wishlist.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 1:08 PM on October 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I remember the lukewarm response when it was first released, and as listening to the title track and "Group Four" on a good pair of headphones generally left me convinced that I knew martial arts and could fly and could dematerialize into darkness at will, I often considered traveling across time and space to ask various reviewers, are you serious? This album is a masterpiece.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 1:54 PM on October 19, 2018 [13 favorites]


Yeah, "Group Four" was definitely my drug of choice off of this album. Stuck it in pretty much every playlist I created for years.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:57 PM on October 19, 2018


Here's an interesting cover of Teardrop by Aurora on Australian radio.

In the interview leading up to the music, they even mirror the up-thread discussion about Banksy's identity.

This album came out when I was 14, and I think I got it near the end of the year, as a present. I was into alternative rock, even Tool was a little "out there" for me, still, and then this album lands in my lap. I didn't actually like it at first I had trouble listening to it on it's own terms, couldn't stop trying to fit it into my youthful, provincial schemas of music and genre. I hadn't heard much trip-hop -- only a few bits of Portishead songs, a glimpse of one of their videos on MTV -- I'd found it unnerving.

Not that Mezzanine had less tension. Yet the darkness felt somehow different (Note, I'm going to get fanciful and impressionistic in my descriptions -- none of the following happened, but how can one describe a feeling?). Listening to Portishead kinda felt like... dreading upperclassman, like drunk angry teenagers harassing me far away from any adult supervision. (I was so young then).

Whereas, Mezzanine was more like, hmm... it was more like being rescued from a fractious home situation by climbing out my window and getting picked up by a friend who could drive, and that friend driving me to a section of town I'd never been to to before and insist that we visit someone who I'd never met before, a peculiar-but-harmless burnout possessing the comparatively, relatively vertiginous old age of 22 entire years old, whom lived in a falling-apart house exposed lathe living room wall alarming amount of cobwebs a hole in the floor on the way to the bathroom that went all the way through to the abyssal basement, and where, in the rotting living room that our host declared his "parlour," with trepidation a-plenty and memories my D.A.R.E. pledge signed mere months prior, I smoked weed out of a bong for the first time. I got borderline hallucinatory-level stoned, laugh about nothing in particular, raw lightbulb casting ghastly shadows, with the strangest of company in a social situation so far out of my comfort zone I may as well have teleported onto a different planet, or into a different century -- and then with surprise discovering that I actually felt calm. Relaxed. As if, contrary to appearances and realities, I was engaged in something wholesome. Listening to Mezzanine felt like discovering that the world was much wider and odder than I'd imagined, and that diving into the unfamiliar could actually end up feeling safer and happier than trying to sooth parental emotions at home.

But back to concrete, I had absolutely no frame of reference going into that album, no place to file it. All these years later it still can sound sui generis.

Unparalleled.

(edit: dropped a word, added in a missing ellipses)
posted by wires at 2:13 PM on October 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


also sorry if this is way TMI but Mezzanine is wonderful to have sex to

I've been trying to come up with a joke involving DNA spray and how often I could hear this album playing through the door when my college roommate had a proverbial sock on the doorknob but I haven't gotten past just referencing it.
posted by flaterik at 2:15 PM on October 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


as I sit here working, listening to Mezzanine, and reading the comments, I find I am listening with new ears and finding a new appreciation in songs I've been listening to for years. thanks!
posted by supermedusa at 2:59 PM on October 19, 2018


also sorry if this is way TMI but Mezzanine is wonderful to have sex to
in the local club scene where I spent my 20s, "Teardrop" was a reliable staple for that point in the evening when you were thinking of going home with someone and you needed a song to slink and sway to. It was etched in as a makeout song and a reliable choice for a mixtape that you might give to someone that you fancied.

It wasn't until I was well into my 30s that I wound up spending an evening with someone and we were lying across my couch, hands moving over each other, and then Pandora started playing "Teardrop" and i started giggling because it had become a cliche by then. My date got a peeved and just asked me to skip to the next song. And I realized belatedly that she was actually looking forward to making out with me to that song and I was being a music nerd jerk.
posted by bl1nk at 3:02 PM on October 19, 2018 [7 favorites]


And if you want more of Massive Attack, they're still pretty active, musically, as seen by their Wikipedia discography and alternatively their Discogs discography, with their latest output in 2016.
A couple of years ago I was in L.A. for a conference and since I live in a place that doesn't get a lot of big acts coming through I generally try to see a live performance or two when I am somewhere with better prospects. I was excited to find out Massive Attack were going to be doing a show at the Greek while I was taking a couple of days' vacation after my conference but a little nervous about seeing a band who I had really been into during their heyday. What if they sucked now? Anyway.. I went and it was brilliant. My biggest complaint was going to have been that it was too short, but then I looked at my watch and realized they'd played for something like 90 minutes and it had just flown by.. I don't know whether they're always on form but based on my single sample (from maybe 4 years ago?) I would recommend catching them in concert if you get the chance.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:54 PM on October 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


How possible/practical would it be to reconstruct the album from DNA fragments?
posted by acb at 6:39 PM on October 19, 2018


Deep as I am into music, I have never heard this before. Amazing the stuff I have missed out on from time to time. This will get ripped to the car drive for long trips... Astounding!
posted by cybrcamper at 11:00 PM on October 19, 2018


I love it when people discover something new to them, cybrcamper! The rest of the catalogue is amazing and you should definitely check out Tricky if you haven't already.
posted by arcticseal at 12:56 AM on October 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Will buy.
posted by bongo_x at 2:31 AM on October 20, 2018


Keep this stuff handy for those awkward moments when toylike people are making you boylike (*).
Banish them at once with a single spray!

(*) - Risingson
posted by El Brendano at 5:53 AM on October 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


From the first metronome clicks as the album opens, you know it's going to change your definition of what is possible.

Angel was one of my standard tracks for checking out concert sound systems after putting them together to make sure everything was working and configured correctly. The clear definition of the threatening bass, the rim click, and high hat would let me know that each part of the three way system was working properly and hearing that first big guitar hit being pushed by 10000+ watts of amps was thrilling. Teardrop at volume is pretty sweet as well.

As far as sex to it, the album was known as "the dark orgy music" within a chunk of my friends for a while.

The Aurora cover of Teardrop is lovely as is the a Jose Gonzales one (there's a great performance with full orchestra too). There's a direct link to the song in the comments, though the full concert is worth a listen.

The Newton Faulkner cover isn't bad either, though not quite at the same level.
posted by Candleman at 9:27 AM on October 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I am really wondering how this remaster will sound. Back in the day I listened to the album on my computer speakers (which were pretty good) and listening to it now on a much better sound system it still sounds great.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:58 AM on October 20, 2018


I only discovered the José González version last month, it's pretty good and worth checking out.
posted by arcticseal at 11:12 AM on October 20, 2018


The album is being rereleased as synthetic DNA suspended in a can of spray paint a 1988 novel by Nicholson Baker
posted by oulipian at 4:13 PM on October 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


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