Back in the late 1980s, before terms like “trip hop” and “dubstep” were ever uttered, a sound system called The Wild Bunch decided to start producing their own music. DJs Daddy G and Andrew Vowles joined forced with graffiti artist-turned-rapper Robert “3D” Del Naja. Their 1991 debut album, Blue Lines, was co-produced by the late great Jonny Dollar and Cameron McVey, who became the group’s first manager. Geoff Barrow, who went on to form Portishead, was an intern and tape operator at Bristol’s Coach House studio when the album was recorded. Future solo star Tricky was introduced on the track “Five Many Army.” The album also featured vocals by McVey’s wife Neneh Cherry and the renowned Jamaican reggae singer Horace Andy on songs like the majestic, ethereal “Hymn of the Big Wheel.” The single “Unfinished Symphathy” became a big hit in England, but more importantly Blue Lines introduced a whole new sound and a new way of making music, with a looseknit crew—similar to the Jamaican sound system model—rather than a strictly defined band. Massive Attack are currently working on a new record in Bristol, which is cause for celebration to a certain generation of music lovers. But if you missed the Blue Lines phenomenon the first time around, fret not…On November 20th EMI will release a 2012 version of Massive Attack’s classic debut Blue Lines, remixed and remastered from the original tapes at the band’s studios in Bristol. Originally released in April 1991 on the Circa imprint via Virgin Records, Blue Lines was an unprecedented mixture of breakbeats, sampling and live instrumentation with vocal styles ranging from soulful female to gritty rapping. With influences as diverse as soul, punk, reggae, dub, lover’s rock, electro and hip hop, Blue Lines was truly groundbreaking, and remains one of the most unique and influential British albums ever made.
From the first track, the ominous and bass-heavy Safe From Harm, to the insouciant British rapping on Five Man Army and title track Blue Lines, through the album’s best-known track and stone-cold classic Unfinished Sympathy, and Horace Andy and Neneh Cherry’s sweet vocals on album closer Hymn Of The Big Wheel as well as the album’s distinctive sleeve (which was designed by the band’s D), Blue Lines perfectly distilled all the band’s influences into a unique sound and aesthetic that redefined the musical landscape worldwide and reverberates throughout it to this day.
The 2012 Remix/Master will be available on a single CD format, standard and high resolution digital downloads, and as a Deluxe Box which will contain the CD, DVD with 96K/24 bit high resolution audio files, the album split over two 180g vinyl LPs and the original 24″ x 18″ Blue Lines promo poster. Both will be packaged in 5″ and 12″ card mailers, respectively, with the album’s artwork screen-printed per the original release.
Be Thankful For What You’ve Got
Five Man Army
Hymn Of The Big Wheel
A1. Safe From Harm
A2. One Love
A3. Blue Lines
B1. Be Thankful For What You’ve Got
B2. Five Man Army
C1. Unfinished Sympathy
D2. Hymn Of The Big Wheel
Blue Lines: 2012 Mix/Master is dedicated to the memory of Johnny Dollar.