Massive Attack's New Single, “Dear Friend”, will premiere at their Downs' event

Posting this here notably because I find this sleeve strickingly beautiful...

Massive Attack Announce New Single “Dear Friend”

Featuring spoken word artist James Massiah

Massive Attack have announced a new single:
 “Dear Friend,” which they’ll sell on limited 12” at their show in Bristol this Saturday. 

A wider digital and 12” release will follow “soon,” according to a press release.

 The song, previewed last month via their Fantom app, features spoken word artist James Massiah. It was co-written by Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja and Euan Dickinson. 


According to the Vinyl Factory:


Massive Attack will release their new single ‘Dear Friend’ on stunning blue 12″ vinyl via Battle Box and The Vinyl Factory.

Housed in a screen-printed red PVC sleeve, the single will be on sale at the band’s Bristol show this Saturday before getting a wider vinyl release on 30th September as well as a subsequent digital release.

Co-written by Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja and Euan Dickinson, ‘Dear Friend’ was previewed last month on the band’s Fantom app and features poet and vocalist James Massiah. It will now appear on vinyl on the Battle Box imprint, set up by del Naja with The Vinyl Factory, and through which he has released a string of collaborative EPs.

It’s been a busy few months for the band, who have already released a number of stunning videos to accompany their Ritual Spirit EP which also dropped on vinyl earlier this year, the limited screen-printed edition of which sold out in no time. 

Although not yet up for pre-order, you can check out the ‘Dear Friend’ vinyl edition in more detail below.


About my book

Hello people.

Since I'll be in England soon, I thought I'd post some information about my book here in English.

En dehors de la zone de confort
By Melissa Chemam

            What happened in Bristol with the release of Blue Lines, Massive Attack’s first album, in 1991, had not been seen in the UK since the end of the punk movement. A new cultural era was born, grown out of the Thatcher 1980s, in the West Country. A mix of influences, from Jamaican music to hip-hop new trends, from street art to new music venues, the 80s have completely changed Bristol’s social and cultural expressions, with the birth of a number of artists and musicians both revolutionary and fed by a few decades of social change in the city, with the arrivals of a new surge of migrants from the Caribbean and Africa and the effect of the austerity measures and the toughest conservative government the UK had know in the whole century, under Mrs Margaret Thatcher.
A record like Blue Lines epitomised all of this and more. It embodied a home-grown sound immerged in reggae, soul and a sound system culture very typical of Bristol but also offered new wonderful ventures into new territories, musically and visually, along with a new way of writing lyrics, between rap and punk styles, a fantastic input into the art of music video, and atmospheres that, as all critics agreed to write, revolutionised dance music. Blue Lines and Massive Attack suddenly put Bristol on the UK’s cultural map, but few could predict at the time how the band would deeply evolve, taking its time to move forward sonically and artistically. With it also grew a sense of a reflexive art, always aware of its context around it, included direct references to their many influences – almost as painters would do in paying homage to masters of the brush in a new canvas, or modern writers would start a new book from the ashes of a masterpiece. Blue Lines can be seen as a sort of Ulysses of the music scene, a palimpsest, using sampling techniques as a way to grow music out of music itself. At the time of the record’s re-release in 2012, remastered, the French magazine Les Inrockuptibles therefore defined the album as the “first post-modern masterpiece”.

            Book presentation
Out Of The Comfort Zone
From Massive Attack to Banksy -
 The story of Bristol, of a group of unique artists and of their revolutions
By Melissa Chemam

In tracing the history of Massive Attack, this book draws the portrait of their city, Bristol, in an investigation that combines music, art and politics.

From post-punk and reggae movements – born in the 1970s – to trip-hop and the revolutionary Banksy, the author retells the destinies of Mark Stewart and the Pop Group, Smith & Mighty, Portishead, Tricky, the Insects, Inkie and, of course, Massive Attack – whom she spent months interviewing.

In 1983, while young Anglo-Italian graffiti artist Robert Del Naja signs of his pseudonym - 3D - his first work on the city’s walls, the original West Indian DJs Grant Marshall and Miles Johnson are detonating their collective, The Wild Bunch. They quickly call 3D to join them. D and Grant then form Massive Attack in 1988 with the young Andrew Vowles and experience a dazzling success with their first album, Blue Lines. The group becomes the embodiment of miscegenation in the UK. From 1998, inspired by 3D, Banksy seizes Bristol’s walls, while Massive Attack change their tone with their album Mezzanine. And the city itself seems to fit more and more with their tone, committed, militant and revolutionary.

Bristol, as Liverpool, Detroit or Nashville, thus began to shine in the world as the birthplace of a great creative movement. This book brings the readers through a special journey, with a band that developed its art in three dimensions, sonically, visually and politically, and with their friends and collaborators. 

The author went to meet Bristol’s artists for over a year, interviewing its best musicians, renowned graffiti artists and their close collaborators. From Massive Attack's studio to Banksy’s Dismaland, via art galleries and concert halls, in Bristol and elsewhere, she asked them to retell their own story and to return to their inspirations, motivations and commitments.


Journalist since 2004, Melissa Chemam lived in Paris, Prague, Miami, London, Nairobi and Bangui. She travelled to over 40 countries. She has collaborated with the BBC, RFI and France Culture, among other media houses.

- -

En dehors de la zone de confort will be out in French first, on the the 6th of October 2016, in France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Link to the publisher's page: 

Link to the book's Facebook page: 


Massive Attack blow away Rock en Seine

Rock and Quai de Seine, not always my favourite things... I'm more into soul and Italian coastlines... But Rock en Seine is a rendez-vous in Paris and when the best band in the world is invited for the third time in the history of the French Festival, how to decline?

Rock en Seine yesterday was cool, though really hot! But Massive Attack were over brilliant. As great as usual but so together, flowing like a river of sound and visual, like a heart of sense. Mesmerising and again especially yesterday, very intense!

Here is my report on the show in French for French speakers.

Une soirée mémorable!


28 août 2016 Par Melissa Chemam 

Massive Attack aime Paris et aime Rock en Seine. Invités de la première édition en 2003, les Anglais s’y sont également produits en 2010, lors de la tournée de leur album Heligoland. Ils sont revenus cette fois avant même toute annonce d’un nouvel opus, après une année marquée par la sortie presque par surprise de deux extended play. L’avant dernière date d’une tournée qui a culminé dans un niveau d’intensité extraordinaire. Son et lumière au message profond, à la fois mélancolique et optimiste, à l’image du collectif de Bristol.

Massive Attack aime Paris et cela se voit. S’ils ont rôdé leur setlist tout l’été dans les plus grands festivals d’Europe, à Rock en Seine ils ont atteint une intensité proche de l’excellence. Ils ouvrent le show avec ‘Hymn of the Big Wheel’, le dernier titre de leur mythique premier album, le fameux Blues Lines, qui fête cette année ses 25 ans. En vedette, le chanteur jamaïcain Horace Andy, qui accompagne le groupe sur tous ses albums depuis 1991, sur toute ses tournées également, et dont la voix inimitable amène une touche de reggae – du Studio One – dans le son des Bristoliens. En arrière plan, un écran géant diffuse des textes, d’un simple « salut » (en français) à un florilège des questions les plus couramment posées à Google, souvent philosophiques : « à quoi sert la vie ? », « peut-on être utile ? », « comment aider ? »…
Grand saut dans le temps pour continuer : 3D, le leader du groupe enchaîne avec ‘United Snakes’, un titre qu’il a composé en 2005, diffusé seulement sur l’édition rare en deux volumes de leur compilation, Collected. Ce titre qui a ouvert leur concert au British Summer Festival à Hyde Park à Londres début juillet donne l’occasion au groupe de déployer son arsenal artistique sur l’écran qui les entoure : diffusant en lumières blanches, noires, rouges, des images de logos et de drapeaux à vitesse quasi stroboscopique. A ce stade, on le sait, un concert du collectif de Bristol est un mariage parfait entre un son peaufiné, recréé pour la scène, et un spectacle visuel puissant.

Mission sonore de Massive Attack : revisiter un catalogue immense et impeccable, et recréer un son studio millimétré pour la scène d’un festival
Quant l’immense Grant Marshall entre en scène, présenté par son acolyte, 3D, on peut s’attendre à un classique. On reconnaît d’emblée les premières notes de ‘Risingson’, un duo rappé entre les deux fondateurs du groupe datant de 1998, l’époque où le collectif comprenait encore trois membres, et où leur album Mezzanine fait d’eux des star du rock dans le monde entier. Un exploit pour un ancien sound system né de la rencontre de sons reggae, soul et hip-hop. Les deux génies du groupe prouvent depuis que l’on peut faire fonctionner la fusion improbable d’une musique noire et d’une guitare en distorsion. L’instrumentiste Angelo Bruschini est le catalyseur de cette prouesse, capable de faire vriller l’émotion de milliers de spectateurs avec un seul accord. Sa guitare accompagne également magiquement Horace Andy qui revient pour interpréter ‘Man Nex Door’, autre extrait de Mezzanine, puis ‘Girl I Love You’, petite furie rock et psychédélique diffusée sur l’album Heligoland de Massive Attack. Entre ces deux morceaux reprenant une chanson reggae pour la torturer en version post-punk, 3D introduit la nouvelle voix du groupe : le jeune Londonien Azekel, au timbre falsetto, qui interprète l’un des titres récents du groupe, ‘Ritual Spirit’, avec une majesté enivrante.
3D poursuit avec une de ses compositions les plus riches et les plus puissantes en concert, ‘Future Proof’, premier titre de l’album 100th Window, diffusé en 2003, dont les paroles métaphorisent une lutte contre la solitude collective de l’ère post-11 Septembre, alors que la débauche de chiffres, 0 et 1, sur l’immense écran,  illustre une sorte de lutte entre cette voix fragile et les machines ou ordinateurs.

Mission visuelle du groupe : faire clasher sa musique sensuelle et un discours complexe
Massive Attack est également connu pour être un groupe engagé. Quand Grant revient sur scène, 3D annonce leur intention d’interpréter ‘Eurochild’ – hymne socio-politique de l’album Protection – comme un requiem à l’Europe alors naissante, qui vient d’être martyrisée par le référendum britannique du 23 juin dernier. « En tant qu’enfants d’immigrés, nous sommes très déçus de cette situation », explique 3D, avant de commencer son rap illuminé par des faisceaux bleus et dorés, couleurs du drapeau de l’UE…
Azekel revient ensuite pour interpréter un ‘Pray For Rain’ transcendé, mais c’est Horace Andy qui fait hurler le public quand il entonne les premières phrases de ‘Angel’, le premier titre de Mezzanine, pendant lequel se déchaînent les deux batteurs, John Tonks et Julien Brown. Double dose de cris lorsque 3D poursuit avec ‘Inertia Creeps’, dernier single extrait de Mezzanine et requiem quant à lui d’une relation amoureuse destructrice. La chanson est ici accompagnée visuellement par une série de messages extraits de journaux et de sites internet, pour la plupart en français, alternant titres cocasses ou people avec des phrases guerrière et les affreuses nouvelles venant de Syrie et d’Irak… Un des points culminants du spectacle, où le leader du groupe force sur l’intensité, hausse le ton et monte le son, contrairement à son affection pour le chant feutré et le rap murmuré. Un bonheur.
Un des moments historiques du concert intervient ensuite quand, comme l’annonçait dans l’après-midi Azekel sur Twitter, le rappeur Tricky rejoint Massive Attack pour chanter en duo avec 3D leur récente collaboration, le magnifique ‘Take It There’. Tricky, qui a contribué aux deux premiers albums du collectif sur des titres devenus légendaires comme ‘Daydreaming’ et ‘Karmacoma’, monte sur scène pour la première fois à Paris avec ses anciens camarades. L’écran géant fait fondre les spectateurs déjà hypnotisés quand il diffuse en français des messages sobres d’appel à la solidarité : « accepter », « comprendre », « partager »… Après avoir pris dans ses bras son vieil ami Tricky pour le remercier, 3D enchaîne en introduisant la chanteuse qui les accompagne depuis 20 ans : Deborah Miller, la voix soul du groupe sur scène. Et ils entament en duo un ‘Safe From Harm’ puissant, en crescendo apocalyptique. Les écrans diffusent alors des informations sur le patrimoine culturel détruit pendant les guerres d’Irak et de Syrie, mais aussi d’Ukraine et bien au-delà. Le concert se clôt avec l’ultime et légendaire ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, qui finit d’emporter l’adhésion. Sont diffusées sur l’écran des photographies prises par Giles Duley pour le Haut Commissariat de l’ONU aux Réfugiés, symboles de cette tournée 2016.

Un spectacle intense, cérébral, qui pousse volontairement à sortir de soi alors que la musique envoûtante et sensuelle de Massive Attack demanderait de ralentir, de se laisser porter et de jouir des vibrations. Certains fans regrettent de ne pas avoir eu droit à ‘Teardrop’, mais les interprètes habituelles de ce titre n’ont pas pu suivre le groupe sur cette tournée. D’autres ne comprennent pas toujours la complexité des messages contradictoires et de la rencontre improbable entre ce son et ces images… Mais l’intelligence du groupe dépasse ce soir toutes les critiques. Construite pour la scène sur des basses immenses et martelées sur scène par les deux batteries, leur musique est aussi tout un monde, nourri par leur ville, leur engagement et leurs nombreux voyages sur tous les continents. Une expérience unique.
Hymn of the Big Wheel
United Snakes
Man Next Door
Ritual Spirit
Girl I Love You
Future Proof
Pray For Rain
Inertia Creeps
Take It There
Safe From Harm
Unfinished sympathy
Visuel : (c) Melissa Chemam



"Björk Digital" in London

 To add on my list to events to look forward to... in this time of social and political catastrophe!

L'exposition "Björk Digital" sera visible à Londres du 1er septembre au 23 octobre  www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/bjork-digital
Plus d'infos sur http://bjork.com

Björk Digital

1 September – 23 October 2016
Somerset House 
Open daily
11.00 – 20.00 Monday - Friday (last admission 19.00)
11.00 – 18.00 Saturday & Sunday (last admission 17.00)
New Wing
£15.00/ £12.50 concessions
BOOK TICKETS NOW or call 0844 844 0444 (booking with Ticketmaster, calls will cost 7p per minute plus your network access charge)

Tickets on sale at 10.00 on Tuesday 19 July 2016

An immersive virtual reality exhibition from Icelandic icon Björk.

Somerset House is thrilled to announce the European premiere of Björk Digital, an exhib­ition of digital and video works, resulting from Björk’s collaborations with some of the finest visual artists and programmers in the world and coinciding with a special performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

Björk constantly and consistently challenges the status quo, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in music, art and technology. The exhibition at Somerset House invites visitors to engage with her work through the latest in virtual reality (VR) technology. Björk believes that by offering a private theatrical experience, VR provides a unique way to connect with her audiences.

The exhibition will include Black Lake, Björk’s groundbreaking immersive film commissioned by the New York’s Museum of Modern Art where the audience is treated to panoramic visuals and enveloped by a bespoke, cutting edge surround-sound system. Filmed in the highlands of Iceland, the work was directed by the Los Angeles-based filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang. Huang also collaborated with Björk on Stonemilker VR, a project that transports the viewer to a private performance of the first track from Björk’s critically acclaimed Vulnicura album. Shot on location on a remote, windswept beach in Iceland and viewable in full 360-degree VR, the viewer will be able to experience a one-to-one recital.

In Mouthmantra VR, Björk worked with director Jesse Kanda to capture intense footage from inside her mouth whilst she sings the title track, her teeth and tongue twisting and seemingly taking on a life of their own. Meanwhile, Notget VR, directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones, presents Björk as a digital moth giantess transformed by stunning masks created by artist James Merry.

As part of the European premiere of Björk Digital, Björk will hold two special concert performances in London in September. These are her only UK shows this year and her first since her acclaimed sold out Biophilia show in the round at Alexandra Palace in 2013. 

Somerset House’s edition of the Björk Digital exhibition will include never-before-seen work by Björk. There will also be an interactive educational space which showcases the innovative apps and custom-made musical instruments from Biophilia, an app created by Björk that explores music, nature and technology. A programme of Björk’s extensive video work will run alongside the exhibition, spanning the artist’s 24-year career during which she has collaborated with film directors including the award winning Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Nick Knight and Stephane Sedanaoui.


Björk's statement:

"i am so excited to invite you all to björk digital exhibition at somerset house . we are showing the virtual reality videos from vulnicura on dozens of headsets and premiering in london some pleasant surprises .... this is a further step into completing the full vulnicura vr album which will come out soon . i feel the chronological narrative of the album is ideal for the private circus virtual reality is . a theatre able to capture the emotional landscape of it ive put importance in the exhibition on the interactive element , that folks can watch vulnicura on vr and try biophilia w ipads i am also very happy to tell you that i will be singing in royal albert hall on the autumn equinox with vulnicuras string arrangements played by an orchestra . i know . it is bragging . spoiled brat".


About the concert: Royal Albert Hall, Sept. 21st  


Tricky and Young Fathers will be at Bristol's event, The Downs, with Massive Attack

The news was given a few minutes ago by the local news website.

Tricky but also Young Fathers will be on stage with Massive Attack.

Also in this article the programme for talks at The Information platform.


Tricky to join Massive Attack at all-dayer

Tilly Haines , August 23, 2016

Tricky and Young Fathers will feature on stage alongside Massive Attack at their huge homecoming gig on the Downs next month.
The headline act is only the culmination of a full day of entertainment that begins at 1pm on Saturday, September 3, with Kate Tempest also revealed to be appearing on a spoken word stage.
Tricky collaborated with Massive Attack on their early releases and they have recently begun making music together again. Young Fathers are also recent Massive Attack collaborators and former Mercury prize winners.
The Information Stage will host talks themed on how people use their chosen form of communications to raise awareness of social issues.
Speakers for this area include musician and novelist Kate Tempest, Aardman's creative director of digital Dan Efergan, Syrian refugee Hassan Akkad and founder of anti-food waste campaign Skipchen, Sam Joseph.
Here is the full lineup:
Main Stage 
2115 – 2245:  Massive Attack ft. Tricky and Young Fathers
1930 – 2030:  Primal Scream
1800 – 1900:  Skepta
1630 – 1730:  Savages
1500 – 1600:  Khruangbin
1400 – 1445:  DJ 
Second Stage 
2000 – 2100:  DJ Krust
1900 – 2000:  Sam Binga
1800 – 1900:  Pinch
1700 – 1800:  Smith and Mighty
1600 – 1700:  Bristol Hi-Fi
1430 – 1600:  Stryda
1300 – 1430:  Idle Hands 
The Information  
1900 – 1930:  Giles Duley
1830 – 1900:  Vivienne Westwood (Via Video) and Allan Jeffery
1800 – 1830:  Anthony Tombling Jr
1700 – 1800:  Kate Tempest
1630 – 1700:  Hassan Akkad
1600 – 1630:  Sam Joseph
1530 – 1600:  Dan Efergen
1500 – 1600:  Lliana Bird 

Festival organiser Tome Paine said: "Alongside a strong music offering, we wanted to provide an area where issues can be explained and discussed, offering a platform for speakers, artists, journalists, writes, activists and anyone else for that matter with something to say on current affairs to voice that opinion".
Doors for the one day festival will open at 1pm on Saturday, September 3.

From the Bristol Post:

Huge acts added to the bill for Massive Attack's Downs gig

By Craig_Jones  |  Posted: August 23, 2016

The Massive Attack mini-festival on the Downs next month has added MORE incredible names to the line-up.
Tricky and Young Fathers will join the legendary Bristol group along with other confirmed support acts Primal Scream, Savages, Khruangbin and Skepta to make one huge day of music on Saturday, September 3.
There are 27,000 people expected at the sold out event.
Another new addition to the event, announced today, is The Information, which will welcome guests discussing cultural and social issues.
Speakers include musician and novelist, Kate Tempest; humanitarian photojournalist Giles Duley, Aardman's creative director of digital, Dan Efergan; founder of anti-food waste campaign Skipchen, Sam Joseph; Syrian refugee, Hassan Akkad and founder of Help Refugees, Lliana Bird.
Although the event is sold out resale tickets are available for face value on the Twickets website.

Read here: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/huge-acts-added-to-the-bill-for-massive-attack-s-downs-gig/story-29646388-detail/story.html#ixzz4IAbKsQOw 

Lhasa de Sela - 'I'm Going In'

 There is a butterfly down there to illustrated the audio, and a bee inside the song lyrics...

What can I say?

 Waiting for the first one's transformation, the bee keeps on going.

Also, knowing this wonderful singer's biography, this sounds now as programmatic as David Bowie's Blackstar.

"I can stand the pain
And the blinding heat
'Cause I won't remember you
The next time we meet".

About death or about rebirth? I guess you choose.


Lhasa de Sela - I'm Going In

When my lifetime had just ended
And my death had just begun
I told you I'd never leave you
But I knew this day would come

Give me blood for my blood wedding
I am ready to be born
I feel new
As if this body were the first I'd ever worn

I need straw for the straw fire
I need hard earth for the plow
Don't ask me to reconsider
I am ready to go now

I'm going in - I'm going in
This is how it starts
I can see in so far
But afterwards we always forget
Who we are

I'm going in - I'm going in
I can stand the pain
And the blinding heat
'Cause I won't remember you
The next time we meet

You'll be making the arrangements
You'll be trying to set me free
Not a moment for the meeting
I'll be busy as a bee

You'll be talking to me
But I just won't understand
I'll be falling by the wayside
You'll be holding out your hand

Don't you tempt me with perfection
I have other things to do
I didn't burrow this far in
Just to come right back to you

I'm going in - I'm going in
I have never been so ugly
I have never been so slow
These prison walls get closer now
The further in I go

I'm going in - I'm going in
I like to see you from a distance
And just barely believe
And think that
Even lost and blind
I still invented love

I'm going in
I'm going in
I'm going in

"I'm waiting for you / In the gloom and the blazing (...) / Come down on the road"

 Nights full of dreams. And when awake, songs come to me.

Strange season, summer, in the years 2010s.
Paris is lovely, Italy is radiant, many European cities are calmer, more enjoyable... And yet, in the background remain the political turmoil and the wars we started and try to mention less and less.

We have to enjoy, I mean, life is made for joy, for presence, for compassion and understanding. But mankind invented such a level of violence... it's puzzling.

One little person in the middle of the storm does feel helpless. And from time to time, one senses something is going to happen. Such a level of hatred has been reached here in Europe. Shall we leave?

This morning early, I woke up with the sound of this song.
It reminds me of my journey through Mexico in September 2012, almost four years ago. Mexico is such a beautiful country, so powerful and full of depth. I absolutely adored every place I went in, every person I met. I remember the colours of the house I stayed in for a few days in Oaxaca, the kindness of the inhabitants, the feeling of being so welcome. I remember the sacred pyramids of Oaxaca in the middle of the green grass and through the bluest sky...

Mexico has such beauty, architectural beauties rivaling with European ones. It also has a lot of heart and energy and love, but also a cloud of so much past sufferance... like some places in Africa.

The sound of this song. The lyrics of this song... Coming back today.

Lhasa de Sela - 'My Name'

Why don't you ask me

How long I've been waiting
Set down on the road
With the gunshots exploding

I'm waiting for you
In the gloom and the blazing
I'm waiting for you

I sing like a slave
I know I should know better
I've learned all my lessons
Right down to the letter

And still I go on like this
Year after year
Waiting for miracles
And shaking with fear

Why don't you answer
Why don't you come save me
Show me how to use
All these things that you gave me

Turn me inside out
So my bones can save me
Turn me inside out

You've come this close
You can come even closer
The gunshots get louder
And the world spins faster

And things just get further
And further apart
The head from the hands
And the hands from the heart

One thing that's true
Is the way that I love him
The earth down below
And the sky up above him

And still I go on like this
Day after day
Still I go on like this

Now I've said this
I already feel stronger
I can't keep waiting for you
Any longer

I need you now not someday
When I'm ready
Come down on the road
Come down on the road

My name, my name
Nothing is, nothing is the same
And I won't go back the way I came

My name, my name
Nothing is the same


Listen here: