Release Date: Sep 4, 2020
Record label: !K7
Genre(s): Electronic, Trip-Hop
Tricky makes, and has always made, nocturnal music, and a Tricky album is usually sonic melange of dusty dub, hazy jazzand suffocating electronics. Fall to Pieces is no different, and in many ways it represents the quintessential Tricky experience. Like most recent Tricky records, it's been slashed to the bone in terms of running time, and no second is wasted, no beat or vocal or bar isn't put to good use.
Tricky has always worn his bruised heart on his sleeve. His brilliantly desolate debut album, Maxinquaye, was inspired by his mother, who died when he was four years old, and a song like "Strugglin'" laid bare in excruciating detail his experiences of pain, darkness, and toil. Fall to Pieces, which contains some of the most darkly moving music that Tricky has produced since that debut album, was produced in the shadow of tragedy.
Avid listeners will know that Tricky has a penchant for the dreary. This is no insult - indeed some of the best trip-hop turned dreariness into an aesthetic - but that downcast voice coupled with those slow, lumbering drums and battered textures can be a real buzzkill. Much of Fall To Pieces fits this mould, with moody lyrics and a lingering unease, the ghost in the machine, but tracks like I'm In The Doorway are more light-hearted, featuring an endearing piano line and a sweet performance from Oh Land.
A year and a half after the death of his daughter Mazy, English electronic pioneer Tricky delivered his appropriately dark and dirgeful 14th album, Fall to Pieces. The first full-length since 2017's ununiform, the set closely followed the first stage of Tricky's sonic catharsis, the 20,20 EP, continuing the mourning process across a taut 11 tracks that brim with angst and sadness. As the digitized production drones, anxiety and melancholy build to uncomfortable levels like the most unnerving and depressed Portishead or Massive Attack tracks.
"I think it… it's gonna work now", the lead vocalist Marta Złakowska remarks three seconds into Tricky's latest album 'Fall to Pieces'. The comment may be off the cuff, but as far as the man's creative process is concerned, it is bang on. "My music is weird because I don't know what I'm doing," Tricky writes on his autobiography 'Hell Is Round The Corner'.
Upon first listen, Tricky's 14th LP sounds like one of those mid-career back-to-basics affairs, rife with crackling low-end bass, looped piano streams and 65 bpm speak-songs. But once you discover the pain and sorrow behind it, Fall to Pieces takes on an entirely different posture. Written and recorded not long after the sudden death of his daughter, Mazy Mina Topley-Bird, at age 24, the trip-hop pioneer finds himself veering headfirst into new emotional terrain.
Photo by Erik Weiss Adrian Thaws has survived much pain, loss, and violence. As Tricky, the self-confessed non-musician has channeled his trauma into a long career as a pioneer in trip-hop. That's a genre label he has periodically and derisively dismissed but for which is best known, as a founding member of Massive Attack and subsequently a solo artist renowned for his prickly relationship with fame, his interrogation of gender roles in music and the centrality he assigns to female voices, most notably Martina Topley-Bird,.