Chapter 2: Memory

Bristol — Violence and BMX bikes — Hip-hop — A Victorian seaside resort — Childhood experimentation — Music, paint, and dance — The Dug Out — Abandoned warehouses — The downland — Burt Bacharach and drum machines overheard from trash cans — The Buffalo Posse — “Sour Times” — Instruments ancient and modern — Films shot through lampshades — Seven Blood-Stained Orchids — The making of tea — Late night crate-digging — Meeting over tea — Songs about Gandhi — London — Bands named after projects, bands named after retirement homes

In this chapter:

  • The Bristol music scene
  • Geoff Barrow
  • "Sour Times"
  • 1960s and 1970s soundtracks
  • Massive Attack's Blue Lines and the Coach House sessions
  • Dave McDonald
  • Collaborators and London sessions
  • Demo tape and remixes

Nightmares on Wax – "70s 80s". There are a handful of videos on YouTube with suggestive visual accompaniment.

Nightmares on Wax – "70s 80s". Here's another one, this time the Upbringing Mix.

Public Enemy perform "Rebel Without a Pause" (iTunes) on Soul Train, 1987

The Dug Out Club

The Dug Out Club

For more about the Dug Out Club and the Bristol Sound, see, among much else (including many pieces referenced in the book):

The Wild Bunch – "The Look of Love", 1988

Smith & Mighty – "Walk On...", 1988 (available on The Three Stripe Collection, iTunes)

Smith & Mighty – "Anyone", 1988 (available on The Three Stripe CollectioniTunes)

Bomb the Bass featuring Maureen performing "Say a Little Prayer" (video on iTunes) on Top of the Pops, 1989

Mark Stewart + Maffia – "Stranger than Love", 1987. Beats by Smith & Mighty. (iTunes)

Fresh 4 (Children Of The Ghetto) Featuring Lizz.E – "Wishing on a Star", 1989. Produced by Smith & Mighty.

Massive Attack featuring Daddy G and Carlton – "Any Love" (iTunes), 1988

Neneh Cherry performing "Manchild" (from Raw Like Sushi, iTunes) on Top of the Pops, 1989

Carlton – "Do You Dream", 1990, from The Call is Strong (produced by Smith & Mighty)

Portishead – "Sour Times" (original music video)

Lalo Schifrin – "Danube Incident" from the soundtrack to Mission: Impossible, 1969

Smokey Brooks – "Spin it Jig", 1971 (WhoSampled)

John Barry's opening theme (iTunes) for The Ipcress File, 1965

Riz Ortolani's opening theme to Confessione di un Commissario (iTunes), 1971. Compare the opening figure to "Wandering Star".

Riz Ortolani's opening theme for Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso (Seven Blood-Stained Orchids), 1972


Massive Attack – "Unfinished Sympathy" from Blue Lines (iTunes), 1991

Neneh Cherry – "Somedays" (iTunes), co-produced by Geoff Barrow, from Homebrew, 1992. The overall sensibility indicates a mid-point between the early sparse Bristol melodic approaches (above) and Dummy; but listen in particular to the break at 2:44.

Tricky – "Nothing's Clear", co-produced by Geoff Barrow, from The Hard Sell, 1991

Gabrielle – "Going Nowhere" (Portishead Mix), 1993

Lou Donaldson – "Pot Belly" (iTunes), from the album Pretty Things, 1970

Paul Weller – "Wild Wood" (Portishead Remix), 1994. From the dramatic drop (0:12) to the buzzy reverb guitar figure (1:42), the distinctive Portishead sensibility is pretty clear by this point.