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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing... but their least accessible record
Of all Massive Attack's releases, this is the one that took the longest for me to really appreciate. On first listening, nearly a year ago now, I was of the opinion, like many other fans and critics, that the absence of Daddy G and Mushroom laid open 'holes' in the music. The songwriting, I thought, was without the soulful, melodic beauty of Blue Lines or Mezzanine. It...
Published on 21 Jan 2004 by outnal

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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Massive Attack's very own Kid A?
Five years on from the excellent Mezzanine, trip-hop trail-blazers Massive Attack return with 100th Window. Effectively, this is 3D's debut solo album in all but name, with Mushroom having bailed out in '99 (scared they were turning into a Punk band!)and Daddy G taking time out to be a father.
From the very outset it is obvious this is going to be a very different...
Published on 10 Feb 2003 by sensoria


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing... but their least accessible record, 21 Jan 2004
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
Of all Massive Attack's releases, this is the one that took the longest for me to really appreciate. On first listening, nearly a year ago now, I was of the opinion, like many other fans and critics, that the absence of Daddy G and Mushroom laid open 'holes' in the music. The songwriting, I thought, was without the soulful, melodic beauty of Blue Lines or Mezzanine. It lacked the introspective, claustrophobic soul of Protection. The beats and production certainly were not imbued with the same dark, powerful and challenging sound that placed Mezzanine among the best records of the 1990s.
So after however many more listens I've given the album, what leads me to give it five stars?
I discovered the subtlety of the emotional (if not political) content of the songs. The melodies themselves are (mostly) more fragile, more subtle than those on Mezzanine, and Del Naja does not tie their flow tightly to the beats. He allows the two to become more separate and flow around and between each other. Silence, possibly the most neglected element in modern popular music, is used to fantastic effect to create the still, reflective mood.
The real brilliance of the music comes in the way this fragility is slowly shattered by quietly menacing riffs and skittering percussion. 100th Window's dark interior has been wrapped up in it's quiet beauty, unlike Mezzanine, where more obvious dark menace was juxtaposed with ethereal beauty. Perhaps the album art is symbolic of the music - the fragile, emotional, human glass shattered by a bullet and all captured in slow motion, freeze-frame.
Inevitably with music as eerily 'chill out' as this - music full of spaces that are only momentarily filled - the album has no 'classic tracks' like 'Unfinished Sympathy', 'Karmacoma', 'Angel' or 'Teardrop', perhaps part of the reason for its lack of critical success. Rather it is memorable for the way it plays on your emotions, and for sounding so incredibly organic yet shattered and frozen.
'Future Proof' begins with a rotating synth riff that never seems to settle into a groove, keeping the song on edge throughout. Guitar licks echo around it until the low vocals come in along with a fractured beat, '...absent friends...empty pockets...they think it's soul...' The song builds to probably the most restrained, quiet fury ever put on record. Testament to Del Naja's innovation that at the climax of the track he introduces quivering ambient drones underneath the layers of guitar.
'Special Cases' floats O'Connor's haunting, powerfully wrought vocals over a brooding bass riff. There is a strange string melody that repeats over and over again ominously and is gradually mixed with wordless vocals. It slowly gets inside your head and makes everything very still, until all the layers of the song come away suddenly leaving only reverb and rotting string bass. (Incidentally, this was initially one of my least favourite tracks)
Other highlights are the pounding beats lost in the grooveless soundscape of 'Butterfly Caught', and the minute detail of 'Small Time Shot Away'.
The album is possibly more deeply layered than any of Massive Attack's earlier work. It may be wrapped up in similar clothing to 1998's Mezzanine, but its is a much darker, earthier and emotionally rich core.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As dark as ever, 4 Feb 2003
By 
C. Jose "CJv2" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
To put it quite bluntly if 18 by Moby was the follow up, or, a continuation of Play, then 100th Window does the same and more for Mezzanine.
From the opening Electronic chords of Future Proof, to the magical strings fading away on Antistar, this record never seems to let up. To be honest though what else would expect from Massive Attack, they never seem to dissapoint.
As ever, with all the records, they have chosen their female vocalist carefully, from Shara Nelson to Tracey Thorn they have gone for the haunting vocals of Sinead O'Connor on this record. I'll be the first to admit I'm not her biggest fan but her voice suits the mood perfectly. She delivers the lyrics with such emotion and utter grace that you find yourself wrapped up in this record from an early point.
Highlights, although exceptionally hard to pick would be Future Proof, Smalltime Shot Away, The fantistic lyrics on Prayer for England and the sizzling strings on Antistar.
At first listen I wasn't sure what to expect and I must admit I did feel quite dissapointed. It was very sameish as Mezzanine, I expected them to move on as they had done on previous albums, as the album continued it did grow on me, and in a big way.
Fans of Mezzanine will love it, it's just as dark, if not darker, just as chilling, perfect evening listening. It's nowhere near as friendly as Blue Lines or Protection, people will turn their noses up at it which is a shame. It really is a fantastic record with variation that is hard to pick up, but is there all the same.
As long as you enjoyed Mezzanine you'll enjoy this, and Sinead fans will love it, she brings a whole new dimension to the record.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweeter than Mezzanine, 14 Feb 2003
By 
smiley (chealde, cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
The strength of this album lies in the fact that Massive attack have not given into pop pressure.It is more serious than that and more suited to the modern ear.
Sweeter sounding than Mezzanine.Gone also are the days of Blue lines - that may be classic stuff -I love it- but it is now history.My only regret is that Liz Frazers beautiful voice is missing.
I predict this album will attract as many new fans as others loose pace and drop away.
More strong tracks than weak ones - and that is unusual these days.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding, 25 May 2004
By 
John Hunt "john-rh" (Southampton, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
This album is what I'd consider to be Massive Attack's finest, you do need to listen to it a fair bit though to get used to it....then it's just something else! Oh my word!
Don't expect to listen to this one with your friends though, it's very introspective and dark...you'll soon be able to listen to this album over and over, it's more of a feeling than anything.
It's up there with orbital - insides, prodigy - music for the jilted generation, etc.. one of the best!
Go buy it now!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Brilliant, 10 Aug 2004
By 
A. BADDELEY "sawtooth12" (Cape Town, South Africa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
Granted, not all tracks are perfect - I personally find some of the Sinead O Conner (sp?) tracks to be the weakest with somewhat sentimental lyrics to the cynic. However, this album contains some of the most incredibly heavy atmosphere I've yet heard created by anyone - both instrumentally and lyrically. After 18 months or so a track as spellbinding as 'Butterfly Caught' has me on this page ranting as if it was recently purchased. This release is less compromising (it goes deeper and darker) than any by MA before and although some won't relate, those whom do will discover timeless worth. Superb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahh the genius of massive attack, 9 Dec 2003
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
Surprisingly, to me at least 100th Window had a pretty quiet release-not too much hype (sadly!) after the well rinsed but still class mezzanine. My point being that I think that 100th Window is their best album yet-proven by the emotive collaboration with Sinead O'Connor... I don't think they could have found a better vocal... she enevitably provides a haunting, eerie quality to the 3 tracks she appears on... cohesive with the rest of the album which is very intense at times! (think-listening to 'angel' from mezzanine, turned up far too loud!) But having said that... do not read it as 'scary, manic, dwelling music' although it can be, it pretty much suits any mood.
If you are a Massive Attack fan, there is no exscuse not to own this one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 21 Feb 2003
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
This is one of those albums that requires several listens before a realistic opinion can be formed. At first I didn't think it was as good as Mezzanine, which I loved. But, after several listens it's started to grow on me.
This album is dark, darker possibly than Mezzanine. It's an album for those moody moments and for the times when your mind wanders. It manages to remind me of past events in my life, those things being good and bad.
The stand out tracks for me are "Future Proof", "What Your Soul Sings", "Special Cases", and "A Prayer For England".
If you liked Mezzanine, buy this. If you haven't heard any Massive Attack, buy this. This album just needs a few listens.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Safety First ......, 8 Feb 2003
By 
M. FAVER "mickfaver" (Leicestoh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
A new Massive Attack lp is always something to look forward too, especially in the current musical climate. Bereft of up and coming musical talent a quality release is even more of an event than normal.
And here it is, everything that you would expect it to be. Professionally produced, almost clinical in delivery yet maintaining the brooding mystery for which Massive Attack lps are famous.
This lp sees the addition of Sinead O'Connor (or a very serious sound alike) on a few tracks.. Sinead these days spends moe time on other peoples records than she does her own ! Obviously her presence only serves to strengthen the package and 'Prayer For England' is one of the best tracks on the lp.
'Futureproof', 'Name Taken' and 'Everywhen'' are just class - true Massive Attack. The music is dark, reggae tinged techno with hints of Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream thrown in for good measure.
If you liked the previous albums, you'll like this one. Two gripes though, there don't appear to be any 'stand out' tracks ('Man Next Door'/'Karmacoma'/'UnfinishedSympathy')and the overall feel which, and it pains me to say it, is almost complacent. It is carried off this time but I'm not sure they can do many more albums from the same starting point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to Fear..., 10 Feb 2003
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
Well it's been four years since Mezzanine, and some of the doom and gloom merchants were saying that MA would not reach those heights again. Well i am pleased to say that they were wrong and MA have!!! But then again, i remember hearing similar comments after Blue Lines and then again after Protection.
For those who jumped onboard at Mezzanine, you may find 100th window a little bass lite and not as dark. But give it some time and you will see the greatness of tracks like A Prayer for England. Personally i love Everywhen, fantastic build up that has you just dripping with anticipation.
Well done MA, and for everyone out there with just Mezz in your collection...get the back catalogue!! Because in my humble opinion Blue Lines (especially Unfinnished Sympathy) is the bench mark.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unmistaken Identity, 27 Feb 2003
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
Okay, there have been mixed reviews here, and I would agree you do get the feeling listening to the album that it's the work of one not many. But all this aside, it's still an achingly beautiful piece of work in places. It's certainly not left my stereo since I got it. The only dud is 'A Prayer for England', which just doesn't sit comfortably on this album. Otherwise it's brooding, it's dark, it's sinister. It's Massive, and I wouldn't want them any other way. Sceptics need to listen to 'Everywhen' and 'Small Time Shot Away', preferably late at night, in the dark, with headphones. Then tell me this is not a brilliant album. Five years was too long to wait, but definitely worth every minute.
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