Sunday, November 9, 2014

Song of the Day: Portishead - Mysterons (1994)

After ten straight posts of songs from 1994 that I loved (roughly) at the time, it's time to spend a while looking at songs from that year which I sadly wasn't nearly cool enough to discover until much later. And since the last post took us all the way to England, let's stay there for a bit. 

I didn't discover Portishead until a good ten years after their debut album came out and maybe even longer. I got into Massive Attack and The Chemical Brothers first, and those two bands led me to the larger world of the varied styles of electronic/techno/trip-hop music out there, explorations which I'm still making. 

Portishead is generally defined as trip-hop, which sort of means musical sounds derived from hip hop, but which aren't generally layered with rap, and rather feature vocals and tempos much closer to jazz/soul/electronica. I've read it described as music intended to listen to at 3am, when you've gotten home from the club, but aren't quite ready for the party to stop yet. 

"Mysterons" isn't one of the three singles on Portishead's first album, but it is the opening track, and I love the way it creates the mood not just for the album, but also for the band and their entire style of music. The drum beat sounds like it's perpetually leading somewhere, but the spooky synth melody makes it sound like you're only traveling back around to places you've already been, though maybe don't quite recognize. It's this inventive cocktail of deja vu, nostalgia, and pseudo-recognition that the album constantly plays with, and makes it seem both always familiar and forever unknown. It's not quite the sort of music that could ever be my favorite, but also not the sort I could ever tire of. 

Check out the Song of the Day Archive!!

No comments:

Post a Comment