Trip Hop, that sometimes maligned genre, I thought was worthy of an audio re-appraisal. Certainly there were some coffee table crimes committed in the name of this genre, however I’d love to name a style of music that doesn’t have its fair share of swill amongst the silk.
At its best Trip Hop was innovative (at least at first), evocative, creative and also a genre around which some enduring artists made their names. Kruder & Dorfmeister, Portishead for example are not constrained by their Trip Hop history, but certainly owe a debt to the genre for providing a platform for future success. Artists such as Massive Attack and labels such as Ninja Tune and Mo Wax formed around the nascent Trip Hop scene, drawing in influences from sound systems, hip hop, graffiti and more creating this uniquely UK sound – that went on to influence others further afield – from France to Japan and beyond.
Yes there is a lot of bland ‘trip hop’, the genre did eat itself somewhat & much like ‘Big Beat’ perhaps became overshadowed by its worse elements rather than being celenrated for its best. So a re-appraisal? Lets take the evidence at hand – some of the best of the genre. I have sought to bring together a series of selections that hopefully represent some of the genres high-points. With elements of dub, drum & bass as well as hip hop, soul and a touch of funk I have been a little liberal with the term ‘trip hop’ but certainly aim to stay true to the over-arching ethos of trip hop nights of the time with the choices made. Have a listen – this isn’t supposed to be a definitive best of, there are great records I don’t have – and have a think. Was Trip Hop so bad?
So – to the music…