Tricky | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Tricky 

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Tricky's prophetic debut album, Maxinquaye (Island), is an aural ripple unlike anything you've heard before. Emerging from the much-hyped if feebly named Bristol, England, trip-hop scene, which has also produced Portishead and Massive Attack, with whom Tricky (aka Adrian Thaws) first recorded, he sumptuously twists hip-hop rudiments into a slippery, dense collage of sound. On his radically reworked cover of Public Enemy's "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," for example, a live band deconstructs a sampled groove, spreading the tune wide open and transmogrifying Public Enemy's pure rage. The result is equally ominous but with a troublingly enigmatic sweep. A tune like "Abbaon Fat Track" oozes sexuality through its sultry textures--dark synths, melancholy slide guitar, muted slinky grooves--delivering brutal imagery with such opiate declension that it comes off as sensual: "I'll fuck you in the ass / Just for a laugh / With the quick speed / I'll make your nose bleed." "Brand New Retro" rocks with frantic Bomb Squad-like claustrophobia, and the drug-hazed desperation of "Strugglin'" is littered with the relentless pounding of drops of water and the staccato cocking of a gun. Joined by the striking vocalist Martine, who does most of the singing, Tricky employs a full band for his terrific live show, and while his opening slot for PJ Harvey earlier this year had a Spartan set, it was addictively compelling. The side-

ways post-Can groovology of Laika opens. Tuesday, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 489-3160.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Paul Ryder.

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