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Massive Attack
Blue Lines | Reissue


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A TAV Essential Listening Album.

Blue Lines is the debut studio album by English trip hop group Massive Attack, released on their Wild Bunch label through Virgin Records on 8 April 1991.

"We worked on Blue Lines for about eight months, with breaks for Christmas and the World Cup," said 3D, "but we started out with a selection of ideas that were up to seven years old. Songs like 'Safe from Harm' and 'Lately' had been around for a while, from when we were The Wild Bunch, or from our time on the sound systems in Bristol. But the more we worked on them, the more we began to conceive new ideas too – like, 'Five Man Army' came together as a jam."

Blue Lines is generally considered the first trip hop album, although the term was not widely used before 1994.

The album reached No. 13 on the UK Albums Chart; sales were limited elsewhere. A fusion of electronic music, hip hop, dub, '70s soul and reggae, it established Massive Attack as one of the most innovative British bands of the 1990s and the founder of trip hop's Bristol Sound.

Music critic Simon Reynolds stated that the album also marked a change in electronic/dance music, "a shift toward a more interior, meditational sound. The songs on Blue Lines run at 'spliff' tempos – from a mellow, moonwalking 90 beats per minute ...down to a positively torpid 67 bpm."

The group also drew inspiration from concept albums in various genres by artists such as Pink Floyd, Public Image Ltd., Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock and Isaac Hayes.

Blue Lines featured breakbeats, sampling, and rapping on a number of tracks, but the design of the album differed from traditional hip hop. Massive Attack approached the American-born hip hop movement from an underground British perspective and also incorporated live instruments into the mixes. It features the vocals of Shara Nelson and Horace Andy, along with the rapping of Tricky Kid. Blue Lines proved to be popular in the club scene, as well as on college radio stations. – Wiki

“One of the most influential records of the Nineties, Lines was perhaps the first post-hip-hop classic: a combination of rap, dub and soul that gave birth to what used to be called trip-hop. "What's important to us is the pace," said the band's 3D, "the weight of the bass and the mood."” – Rolling Stone

““Safe From Harm”—the album’s opening track and the closest Massive Attack ever came to a U.S. hit—in particular balances delicate hi-hat hits and distorted guitar fills with rumbling bass rolls and subtle turntable scratching, most of it borrowed from an early-’70s recording by jazz drummer Billy Cobham.

That jazz element is a key ingredient to Blue Lines. It runs through the terrific “Unfinished Symphony” and nudges against the hip-hop-leaning “Daydreaming,” which inspired nightly playlists at every martini bar on the planet during the ’90s. And it’s a main component of the trip-hop genre Massive Attack created. The music weaves in and out of consciousness, falling somewhere between a restless dream and a late-night buzz, as Nelson and rapper Tricky—who later recorded one of trip-hop’s other landmarks, Maxinquaye—barely break a sweat with their vocals.

Massive Attack messed around with more expansive sounds later—1998’s Mezzanine is the group’s only other consistent listen—but Blue Lines is the moment where the group explored new musical terrain in 45 brilliant minutes, and changed a small segment of electronica. Since then, traces of that work can be heard in everything from Portishead to recent records by Radiohead and TV On The Radio. This is the source, however, and the reissue pushes the record’s timeless magnificence back into the spotlight.” – AV Club

Item description:


Massive Attack


Blue Lines




Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Repress, 180 gram



Release Date:

This reissue: 2016 | Original – 1991




Trip Hop, Dub, Downtempo

Catalog No: