The Only Way (stripped down Tricky mix)
Tricky has released a major remix of a stand-out track from his Ununiform album. David Beer reviews for Louder than War.
Hell is round the corner. Not only a fitting statement for the political and economic times, this was, of course, one of the key tracks on Tricky‘s agenda setting 1995 debut album Maxinquaye. Tricky’s music has moved on from that 90s classic, he is a prolific artist operating largely out of Berlin rather than Bristol, but he has retained that foreboding sound and the sonic sense that hell is never far away.
Following on from last year’s Ununiform album, Tricky’s 13th album, he has recently and quietly released a remix of one of the tracks from that long-player. The Only Way was one of the stand-out tracks on Ununiform. This Stripped Down Tricky Mix is quite different to the original – some of the melody and lyrics are retained but the song itself is transformed. Already quite bleak, the punchy guitar and piano have been pulled away and replaced with a harsher less certain palette.
The layers have been stripped back to leave only its foreboding core. The vocal is more hushed, whispered during the opening, and suggests a kind of coming end to something, it’s not clear what. Together this conjures a sound of solitude and isolation, a fear of an ending. As the title would suggest, it is stripped back, stark even. The tone of the song is one of an inescapable sense of dysfunction and dread. Tricky sings of ‘falling apart’ and asking ‘is this the end’, layered over the echoey backdrop. The change in the sonic canvas seems to lend a new ambiguity to the lyrics, turning it from something personal into something that hints at the broader shifts and turmoils.
The new video echoes these sounds, with shadowy shots, fragments of shattering glass, burning buildings, empty tunnels, fences, storms and the like. Touching on themes of environmental disaster, economic crisis, political endtimes and catastrophe, the video adds to the prescient feel of the music. With all these converging crises, captured beautifully in Couze Venn’s recent book After Capital, it can feel a little like hell is round the corner. Tricky’s remix has a feel for these converging crises, turning them, in this video and song, into sonic form.