Massive Attack's first (and hopefully not only) release of 2016, gets underway today with the release of a new 4 track EP entitled Ritual Spirit. The EP was mainly written and produced by 3D and Euan Dickinson. The press release for the EP also intriguingly states that there will be a second EP out shortly that is more Daddy G centric, and with that to be followed by a new album later this year. So great news all around, even though as a long term Massive Attack fan I've learned to be a bit dubious of new album release claims. With luck though it will all come to pass.
Take It There is possibly the highlight of the EP for me, featuring the return of Tricky to collaborating with Massive Attack after 20 year absense. News about Tricky working with Massive Attack first surfaced in 2012, but at least now we can hear what they've been cooking up in the studio.
The self titled EP track Ritual Spirit is also noteworthy. Featuring the textured vocals of newcomer Azekel, who is also on tour with Massive Attack at the moment, its the most melodic and accessible of the tracks upon first listen.
The Dead Editors track with Roots Manuva, sees Massive Attack taking a leaf out of Burial's playbook with a futuristic dub mix which becomes vaguely more unsettling the more you listen to it. An instrumental of this track first appeared last year on the UK Gold Soundtrack that 3D and Euan contributed the score to.
The track Voodoo In My Blood is one of two tracks that Massive Attack have worked on with with Young Fathers (who are also on tour with the band). The other track "He Needs Me" was premiered last month in a video for the Paris COP21 conference. Both tracks are being performed live on tour this year.
Finally, the one new track which is being performed live this year which has not been released so far is known as "Clock Forward", and has live vocals by Martina Topley Bird. A bootleg video of it is available here. They might be saving Clock Forward for the next EP or possibly even the mooted new album.
I've also started a poll on Twitter if you would like to pass your vote for your personal favourite of the new EP tracks.
If you would like to leave a comment below about your thoughts on the EP and Massive Attack's plans for the rest of the year, then please do.