Info → Small Time Shot Away
UK Release: 10th February 2003 (100th Window)
Track Duration: 07:57
Formats: CD, Vinyl, Digital. View Discography Entry.
Written By: Robert Del Naja and Neil Davidge
Produced By: Robert Del Naja and Neil Davidige
At some time during the 100th Window recording sessions in 2002, Damon Albarn dropped in on 3D in the recording studio with the intention of showcasing a song he had written for Horace Andy to sing, which had always been a big dream of his to do. One thing led to another and the song (which has never been named of) was quickly forgotten as the two good friends ended up having a long drunken night in the studio. In this time, (as 3D has always contested he often works best when hungover), the vocals featuring the pair were recorded initially and the groundwork was laid on what would eventually become Small Time Shot Away.
Damon Albarn is not credited under his normally title in the 100th Window sleeve notes. Instead he goes under the name 2D, which is his pseudonym in his cartoon side-project of a band, Gorillaz. Massive Attack did not want to draw much attention to the fact Damon Albarn was a guest vocalist on the album so not only was he credited as such but also his vocals were reduced to a low hum electric warble during the chorus of the song, which most people listening would mistake as background noise.
The weird and randomly fluctuating keyboard sound on Small Time Shot Away was a product of Neil Davidge’s thinking of making things sound like anything but what they are. He started with a single one bar chord and put it through several effects to make different textures of sound just from the one bar and then in the end, editing all those bits of music into a usable performance.
Small Time Shot Away has never once been played live, making it the only 100th Window song (disregarding the untitled hidden bassline after the end of Antistar) to have never been performed live at some point.
Small Time Shoot’ Em Up – This sped-up, more hectic alternative version of Small Time Shot Away, is more than likely a product of the 100th Window facsimile (also known as Version Point Five) project which 3D spoke of during the time around 100th Window’s release, which would have been the 100th Window songs represented as more simplified stripped back versions of the songs with arrangements taken from 2003 tour. This project failed to ever be fully completed and was never released however, evidently the new version of Small Time Shot Away (and also Everywhen) intended for this project were completed and released on Everywhen. This version is also notable as according to the Collected inner sleeve notes, Daddy G apparently contributed to writing this remix, which if true would be his first actual involvement in the creation process since I Against I in 2002. This song also clearly features Damon Albarn on backing vocals, which while still in the original version of Small Time Shot Away (reduced to an electric warble during the chorus), his vocal contribution is far clearer throughout in this new mix.
While no direct sampling was used on any song from 100th Window, including Small Time Shot Away, the bassline of this song was inspired by the bassline from “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus, a song that coincidently or not was featured on 3D Nocturne Sessions CD that came out in early 2002, roughly around the same time Small Time Shot Away would have been written.
Neil Davidge on the keyboards heard in Small Time Shot Away – “The reality of that is that it was just a single chord held on a Juno playing a sine wave doing an arpeggio, but I actually went through using Wave Mechanics’ Speed plug-in to create different textures. It was just a one-bar loop but I love it when you take something, slow it down, take it up or down an octave and just keep pushing it until obviously it’s unusable as sound – but always going right to the very edge before you come back” [Sound On Sound Magazine – April 2003]
3D on Small Time Shot Away – “MYSELF AND MR ALBARN CHASING IT DOWN IN THE SHORT HOURS [EVERYONE ELSE WAS LOOKING AT THE CLOCK HUMORLESSLY AS THE MOON WENT DOWN”[Collected PR – January 2006]
Took her in. Dropped a line. Turned me on. We never leave each other ’cause we leave each other so cold. Makes it melt away. The easy part is taking yourself in. It’s wartime every time. Shot away. Wipe the smile from your face. It’s getting in the way. It’s wartime every time. She cut me a line and she turned me on. She made it cool. You couldn’t do it if you wanted to. It’s wartime every time. Small talk every time. It’s my favourite chloroform. It’s pill talk every time. Get it out the way. Friction wound. Shot away. Ricochet. We’re like identical twins. Sucking on the same teat. Spitting out the same things. It’s wartime every time. Small talk every time. It’s my favourite chloroform. It’s pillow talk every time. Get it out the way. Friction wound. Ricochet. Line’em up and knock’em down. Shot away (x5)