Release Date: Oct 6, 2009
Record label: Virgin
Genre(s): Dance, Electronic
Massive Attack's Splitting The Atom EP is a preview of the album Heligoland, slated for a February release. The first two tracks present a promising view of a widely collaborative LP, and the second two suggest a wealth of remixing and B-sides that may evolve out of the Heligoland project. All four of the tracks stay within Massive Attack's vein of moody down-tempo music and mysterious lyrics with tempests of emotion simmering below the surfaces.
Those looking for something less than banal to explain the perpetual imminence of a fifth Massive Attack album will be disappointed. The delay neither involves the kind of acrimony that shaved the original trio down to Robert Del Naja (aka 3D) nor charges of child pornography, like those heaped on Del Naja in 2003. In fact, Del Naja is now happily rejoined by fellow founding member Grant “Daddy G” Marshall, who, following Andrew “Mushroom” Vowles, departed the outfit in 2001 due to creative differences.
In a recent interview, Massive Attack's Daddy G claimed dubstepper Burial might remix the entire forthcoming Massive Attack album the same way Mad Professor remixed Protection on No Protection a decade and a half ago. That's a great look for Massive Attack; Burial's moody skitter-fog should mesh beautifully with Massive Attack's heady creep. But if the teaser EP Splitting the Atom is any indication, that Burial remix joint will probably make a better and more convincing Massive Attack album than the next actual Massive Attack album.
It’s been six long years in dance music since Massive Attack released their last LP, 100th Window. Time enough for minimal techno to 'go over' into clubland, for DFA to capitalise on the success they’d already started garnering, and for electro’s giddy rise and eventual stagnation. Such events have failed to lure the Bristol trip-hoppers into the studio, though; they’re a group who’ve always imbued a sense of being out-of-step and unconcerned with what goes on around them.