In 1995, Tricky dropped ‘Maxinquaye,’ an album that operated as a showcase of his own capable production abilities as well as providing a dark, brooding ideal environment for Martina Topley-Bird’s vocals.
It was a bit of a departure from his previous work with Massive Attack, though still in keeping with key elements of trip-hop and electronica characteristic of ‘Blue Lines’ and ‘Protection.’
It’s a similar situation I find Neneh Cherry in upon listening to her recent work with Kieren Hebden, aka Four Tet. A somewhat unfamiliar, but ultimately ideal environment for her voice as well as playground for her words. The opening beat and grinding bass-synth smacks of Tricky’s ‘Black Steel’ and ‘Ponderosa.’
So far there are only two songs on Cherry’s SoundCloud page (link) off the new album, the second a freestyle electro-jazz duet with former Jungle Brother, Afrika Baby Bam. This song leaves me a little less excited for the album, but the instrumentation lining the song is compelling enough to get me to see past the ugh-worthy free jazz elements. I look forward to hearing more of this leading up to the release of her first album in sixteen years in early 2014.