If you're the kind of person who pays attention to trends, you
probably already know that the so-called Bristol Sound has been tagged
"trip-hop," since it mixes elements of druggy ambient with hip-hop
elements. Well let one of the movement's leaders, 27-year-old Adrian
Thaws (who goes by the name Tricky) wise you up. "There ain't no
Bristol sound and trip-hop is bullshit," he told our favorite L. A.
Times writer, Lorraine Ali recently. "People are afraid to put out
music and have it judged for what it is, so instead they use a trendy
name to give it an identity. It's not Bristol or trip-hop, it's that
they don't know who they are." All of which sounds like much ado about
nothing to us. After all, there is a commonalty between the sound of
Tricky's Maxinquaye and Portishead's Dummy. Both use
creative samples to back the ethereal singing of female vocalists. But
whatever you call it (or don't) something special is happening in
Bristol these days. Although Trick features the singing of Martina
Toppley-Bird, it is clearly Thaws solo project, with Toppley-Bird
appearing as just another element in the mix. Thaws, who was formerly
with Massive Attack, is nothing if not opinionated and outspoken.
"It's not rap, it's not poetry," he told Ali. "I don't know what it
is, it's more like talking, communicating. The words aren't so basic,
but my style really is. I always use the first stuff I put down in the
studio and leave in all the mistakes."