Info → Jupiter
UK Release: 17th October 2013
Track Duration: 05:34
Formats: Vinyl, Digital. View Discography Entry.
Written By: Robert Del Naja, Euan Dickinson and Jupiter Bokondji
Produced By: Robert Del Naja and Euan Dickinson
Additional Production & Programming: Tim Goldsworthy
Mixed By: Bruno Ellingham
Promo Video Directed By: Dusan Reljin
Video Producer: Dusan Reljin and Hilde Pettersen Reljin
Video Duration: 05:34
Jupiter was the second track released on the Battle Box record label (hence the name), a label set up by Massive Attack’s 3D in conjunction with The Vinyl Factory. The goal of the Battle Box label is to release new Massive Attack music on limited edition vinyl int he aftermath of the Heligoland album. There would be a further three releases not he battle Box label after this one.
3D was inspired to create this track when he visited the Congo region of Africa in 2007 with fellow musician and friend, Damon Albarn of Blur fame. This visit would eventually form the basis of Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project that would be released fully in 2013, the same year as Jupiter’s release. It is safe to say that Damon Albarn’s well documented love of African music inspired 3D heavily in the construction the track with its heavily tribal inspired African electronic rythmns.
Whilst on this trip, 3D was first introduced to the music of Congolese musician, Jupiter Bokondji, who he would ultimately remix the vocals from one of his tracks as a starting point for this track. Jupiter Bokondji would also be featured on Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project as well.
Jupiter would be the 2nd release on Robert Del Naja’s Battle Box label following on from the first Battle Box release featuring Guy Garvey. Much like that first release, Jupiter received an 12” vinyl edition from the Vinyl Factory and a promo video in October 2013. The vinyl was only released in an exclusive edition of only 300 copies with artwork from graffiti artist Paul Insect.
Later on in 2017, 3D would collaborate with Jupiter Bokondji once again by providing the artwork to his album, Kinsonic. Damon Albarn would also feature on that release.
This track also marked the last time Massive Attack would work with Tim Goldsworthy (co-founder of Mo’Wax and DFA Records) who had done similar additional production duties not eh Heligoland album.
Jupiter was performed regularly throughout both the 2014 tour and 2016 tour usually around the midway point of each setlist. It was first played live at the Palace Of Sports Arena in Sofia, Bulgaria on the 5th June 2014.
As Jupiter Bokondji did not tour with the band, Martina Topley-Bird performed the track live on stage using her own lyrics culled from a solo track of her’s called Poison.
During the song’s performance, the LED backdrop screen behind the band displayed real recorded conversations and statistics regarding people killed by drone strikes mostly conducted by the American military.
On the Summer leg of the 2016 tour, the track was dropped from the setlist as Martina was no longer touring with the band on those dates. Her departure for the 2nd half of the 2016 tour would also have an impact on the rest of the setlist, with Teardrop and Paradise Circus also being dropped.
Alternative Mix – A more melodic and relaxed version of Jupiter found on the B-Side to the vinyl release., remixed by Bruno Ellingham, the mixer of the original track. It was also released for free download on the Battle Box Soundcloud page.
3D on the background surrounding the Jupiter track – “In 2007 I went to the Congo with Africa Express. I was lucky to hang out and listen to some pretty amazing musicians, Jupiter among them. This track is built with an unknown modular synth from Munich, a Moog and a Vermona drum machine, with help from Euan Dickinson and Tim Goldsworthy. And mixes by Bruno Ellingham. I wanted to mirror the energy and message in the song without complicating it. The b-side is a more relaxed and melodic using a Prophet 5 and a jupiter 8.” [Vinyl Factory – October 2013]
Jupiter Bokondji on both mixes of the track sings/speaks the lyrics in a combination of his native Congolese language and in French also.
For the live renditions of Jupiter on the 2014 and 2016 tours, Martina Topley-Bird would would substitute her vocals on the live version. She would also use her lyrics from one of her solo songs, Poison (found other 2nd album, Blue God), as an alternative to the original’s lyrics. Both the lyrics for Martina’s Poison song and YouTube video can be found here.
The promo video for Jupiter received its world online premiere on the Vinyl Factory YouTube channel the 17th October 2013 which was also the date of the pre-order for the vinyl release. The video was directed by fashion photographer Dusan Reljin and filmed using a phantom camera. Dusan also directed the previous video for the Battle Box label for the track Battle Box back in December 2012, and is quite similar to that video in terms of its kinetic kaleidoscopic style. The video features disturbing imagery of African military marches and the dictarorial strife that plagues the African continent.