Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
A word to the wise, or just those visiting, whichever it may be: Take this session in with a single gulp, a wide-opened gullet and do so as you would your aspirin or something illegal. It's meant as a snapshot, one snapshot, and not four frames of reference. It's bookended by two songs featuring Tricky singing the main vocal parts and two songs in the center of the experience with just the sensuous female vocals that we've come to expect from the supporting stars that the man from the getting to be middle-aged man from Knowle West, Bristol, England loads his albums with. It's one single musket slug to be taken to the dome, laying you out cold or making you feel the kind of slippery, smoky, lurking movements that Tricky seems to consist of - his eyes are smoke and it goes back for miles and miles - you could run a marathon over the expanse of his smoke-filled orbs, his profile is smoke, his limbs run on smoke and his mouth lets the smoke out for walks whenever it's getting too cramped or ruffled on the inside. The stage that Tricky sets here is one not unlike the state he was in this early afternoon in Austin at Big Orange - a state that could very well be his standard operating order, just the way his settings are calibrated, into a manner that keeps a body slightly fucked up and slightly drowsy, to go along with a dash of being slightly euphoric or insane, wanting more and more of the cocktail of substances and deprivation that it took to establish that situation at the beginning. He stumbled from his tour bus looking dazed and surprised that there was so much sunshine, squinting at the brightness. He looked as if he happened to be wearing the clothing that he'd worn the entire day previous and maybe longer as the back bottoms of his jeans were filthy and matted, getting walked on by his sandals with every step he took over the gravel and dirt path. He was wearing a ragged wife beater undershirt and carried a generally bedraggled look. He walked over to the picnic tables in the shade, where the Meat Puppets and their manager were cracking into a couple Tecates and smoking cigarettes, sharing fish stories, and approached them as a common panhandler on the hard streets would, asking, "Excuse me buddy, but do you have a cigarette?" in his very English accent. He was in luck and with the charitable donation, he turns around, lofts his arms in the air as if were a quarterback who'd just tossed a touchdown strike and says, "Good morning everybodeeeeee!" and meanders back toward his bus. He stopped before he got there, sat on a concrete stoop and removed his black socks, leaving them on the grassy ground, where they would sit for a day and a half untouched. He made several more round trips from the bus to the studio over the next hour or so, cutting out during "Veronika" and "Dear God" to refresh a drink and who knows what else as he was overheard talking about different unorthodox concoctions of liquids and pills. It was a great feeling of "what you see is what you get," and not at all in a derogatory sense of the thought. The behavior seems to fit the incarnation of the music that Tricky creates, all breath and skepticism, playing on suspicions and the head when it's in an altered state and maybe able to possess brighter takes on what's happening around it, rather than just beating into the same horse and getting the same clear-headed argument that it might always get. He sings about girls coming and going and even addresses some of those hot or miss ladies with a bit of what could amount to fatherly advice when he suggests, "Girls, get your head right," even if it's rebuffed in a flash of a heartbeat with a woman in the background saying, "There's nothing wrong with me." It could be a line that Tricky hears often when stating his opinions to women or to those of the same sex, that there's nothing wrong with them. It makes for a murky delusion and a bottomless barrel, a vigil for the devils.
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