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Trip-Hop and Beyond
Portishead’s All Mine
A bizarre name, a unique sound. Portishead was a standout creative experience from the 90s that helped to define a subgenre, and they continued to evolve with every new album.
First, the name. An unfortunately anticlimactic backstory. The group was named after a small town in the UK. That’s it. I don’t know about you, but Portishead elicits all sorts of strange and grotesque mental imagery for me, so much so that I was certain the backstory would be dark and prolific. It is not.
Next, the sound. Often categorized as Trip-Hop, their music combines Experimental Rock with Electronic and Hip Hop and has been described as cinematic, spy thrilleresque, haunting and mysterious. The hypnotic vocals of lead singer Beth Gibbons have an early Jazz quality and definitely reminiscent of cabaret singing, if that cabaret was in a James Bond movie. She has the sort of voice that takes you out of your mundane environment and transports you to some place with much more mystique, and cool.
The group formed in 1991 and released their first album, Dummy, in 1994. They followed that breakthrough record with a self-titled studio album that was greeted with similar critical praise. The one featured here in Vinyl Notes is a 12inch release with two songs from that album, All Mine and Cowboys, with complimentary instrumental versions to both.