EDIT:Since first publishing this post, it appears that the first of the "Battle Box" events scheduled for December has been postponed until January. I have amended the title of this post to reflect the delay. I will update further once I know more...

So, now that Blue Lines 2012 is out this week, I guess that's all we can hope for from Massive Attack before the close of another year. But, you would be wrong!

Announced a few hours ago courtesy of Massive's Facebook, we now have "Battle Box" to look forward to. What is "Battle Box"? Well, it seems to read to me as nearly a "mini-Meltdown" festival that 3D is putting together, with the ultimate aim is to "reengage with Bristol", using the avenues of music, art and politics, all within the rather unique environment of the Old Crown Court and adjoining abandoned prison cells in Bristol centre.

There's a revealing new interview with 3D in this month's Crack magazine that reveals all the major details of his "Battle Box" brainchild, and I'd invite everyone to read it to get the lowdown on it. It also covers his thoughts on the 21st anniversary and reissue of Blue Lines, naturally.

Also, while we're on the topic of the Blue Lines reissue, remember to tune (or stream, if online) into BBC6 this Saturday. Gilles Peterson is putting on his usual show from 3-6pm, but this time he will be joined by 3D and Daddy G as they go into a retrospective look at Massive Attack's career, in the wake of the release of Blue Lines 2012. More info about that here.

New photo of Massive Attack's 3D taken from this November's issue of Crack Magazine. Photo credit - Charles Emerson.
New photo of Massive Attack's 3D taken from this November's issue of Crack Magazine. Photo credit - Charles Emerson.

Anyway, back to what I've gathered about the upcoming "Battle Box", most of which has come from the Crack magazine interview, which is embedded towards the bottom of this post for you to read in full. Here's all the salient details...

  • The first of the six "Battle Box" events will be held on the 12th December 2012 at the Old Crown Court in the centre of Bristol. The remaining five events will be held in the same venue over the next 18 months.
  • According to this blog post from one of the production designers for the event, Damon Albarn's Gorillaz and Adrien Sherwood's On U Sound-System will be joining Massive Attack in the first "Battle Box", with it being billed as a "soundclash" between the three acts.
  • There will be a series of exclusive vinyls featuring new Massive Attack material to mark each of the six "Battle Box" events, the first one being the already announced Guy Garvey track. In the Crack magazine interview, it is also mentioned that the recent Nas remix will be on one of these future vinyl releases.
  • Massive Attack will perform a live show on one of the three nights (TBA) of December's upcoming "Battle Box". It will be a stripped-back and more intimate version of their usual performances, to accommodate the smaller space available in the Old Crown Court.
  • On the political side of things, Clive Stafford-Smith of Reprieve will be making an appearance.
  • 3D's artwork along with others from the Lazarides gallery will be on display in the former prison cells for all to look at.
It has massive appeal. We’re doing something in a space you would never normally enter unless you were there for all the wrong reasons, or the right reasons. We’re also creating an opportunity to work in a space where the economic factors aren’t key, where your not trying to put a festival on for 10,000 people, with tickets at 50 quid to cover it, and then hope to sell 1000 gallons of cheap lager to make profit. In the era of austerity, we thought it would be more fun to go into a smaller space, more contained and be able to make decisions based on quality more than quantity.
— 3D on his reasons for holding "Battle Box" in the former prison cells of Bristol's Old Crown Court (Crack Magazine Interview - November 2012)

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