Close to two years after first getting word of this project, (check out this blog post of the initial announcement in May 2013), the end result of the unique but maybe not altogether surprising pairing of Del Naja and Yorke was just released online as a free stream via Soundcloud.
The project in question, is that of "The UK Gold", a documentary about tax evasion in the UK (primarily in the City of London), narrated by Dominic West and directed by Mark Donne. The TV premiere of The UK Gold will also be tonight (25th February) at 8pm in the UK on these channels simultaneously - London Live, Freeview 8, Sky 117, Virgin 159 and YouView 8). Obviously the timing of the soundtrack release on Soundcloud is to coincide with this TV premiere.
The soundtrack itself is comprised of 12 tracks and is an even split of six 3D and six Thom Yorke tracks. If your familiar with the recent output from these two artists, then the music on this soundtrack won't come as a huge surprise - moody, minimal and haunting electronic melodys and synths. Music to the ears in other words! And when I say 3D, I really mean Del Naja and Euan Dickinson (who has taken over the production role vacated by Neil Davidge after Heligoland, and is effectively a member of Massive Attack currently, at least in my eyes). Thom Yorke is also joined by his fellow Radiohead bandmate Johnny Greenwood, on two of his six tracks.
Somewhat unfortunately, from the writing credits it appears there is no actual collaboration on tracks between the Massive Attack and Radiohead camps, which is what many would have supposed beforehand. Anyway, here's the Soundcloud embed of The UK Gold soundtrack directly below...
Not all the tracks on this release are entirely new for either party. From Massive Attack, there is an instrumental version of Battle Box 001 (sans Guy Garvey's vocals) first released at the end of 2012, and also the track "Bull Market", is the same track that was originally entitled "G" (albeit shortened in running time), that first appeared on the Ludum Dare 31 release from December 2014. Thom Yorke also recycles a track off his new solo album released a few months ago, an instrumental version of "A Brain In A Bottle", here renamed "Mono Jam One V2".
Also not to appear ungrateful for free music just being dumped in our laps like this, but it does annoy me that it is only "free" in so far as the stream goes. They have not made the soundtrack album free to download in a lossless audio quality, which is easy to do with Soundcloud, but I guess you can't have it every way. The Ludum Dare 31 release from last December got this right, allowing everyone to just download the WAV files direct from the Soundcloud set.
This is of course not the first time there has been some sort of coming together of both Massive Attack and Radiohead. The first time would probably be when Massive Attack supported Radiohead on a number of live dates back in 1997 (photo of a ticket stub from a show in Dublin as proof). Also in the late 90's, there were press reports that Massive Attack might have been undertaking a dub remix album of Radiohead's seminal classic "OK Computer" album, which ultimately did not come to pass.
More recently at the end of 2011, 3D and Thom Yorke did a joint DJ set for Occupy London, which was partly filmed by Brass Mustache, the production company owned by Mark Donne, the director of The UK Gold. It is here more than likely that the idea to jointly record the soundtrack for Mark Donne's documentary first came to be.
Here's a comment from Thom Yorke about his involvement in this project and why tax evasion is such an important issue...
So with all that, here is a 4 minute preview clip from The UK Gold. (Having Jon Snow in something always gives an nice air of authority to proceedings!). Remember to tune in tonight if you can and let me know what you think of the new music!