Listen: Massive Attack - Ritual Spirit EP
The wait is over.
Trip hop fans can rejoice - the EP Massive Attack have been hinting at in recent times has arrived. We were first clued in by Fantom, an app developed by Robert '3D' del Naja and team that was launched last week. The sensory music player remixes snippets of music in real time as influenced by environmental variables, from your location to your heartbeat, from the movement of your device to the time of day, and everything in between. Each piece of audio within the app was thought to be sampled from Ritual Spirit, the group's latest release since Heligoland in 2010, co-produced by 3D and long-time collaborator Euan Dickinson.
The four-track EP takes you on a journey that begins with Dead Editors - an opening track nearing five minutes long, and featuring none other than acclaimed rapper Roots Manuva at the fore. The record takes a sonic shift to a more melodic realm with the titular Ritual Spirit, with East Londoner Azekel on vocals. A slight SBTRKT and Sampha feel kicks in around the middle of the song; atmospherically, it's the lightest of the four tunes. Young Fathers collaboration Voodoo in My Blood feels like a climactic moment for the EP, with traits reminiscent of Heligoland pushed into fresh new territory. Driving it home is Take It There, and Tricky kills it. Though we haven't heard him on a Massive Attack record since Protection, his vocal presence is an embellishment that feels like it never left, tying the tune together. Take It There is also the only track accompanied by a video so far, with a haunting portrayal by John Hawkes and directorial work from Hiro Murai.
Rumour has it that a full-length album is set to come later in the year, but if Ritual Spirit doesn't keep you sated, take comfort in knowing the group have another EP on the way. Written and co-produced by Grant Marshall, the next release is pencilled in for Spring. For now, you can stream the first installment via Spotify, and have a peek at the video for Take It There, below.