A place for everything and everything in its place seems as good a way as any to sum up Ritual Spirit, Massive Attack’s new 4 track EP. Lasting a mere 17 minutes, Ritual Spirit is a tight yet organic collection of songs utilising all the elements you’d expect from Massive Attack: excellent production value, loops and samples, live instrumentation, strong guest vocals, and everything pieced together perfectly. Nothing is excessive and nothing is left wanting.
The EP opens with Roots Manuva supplying vocals on Dead Editors which, with its strong groove, throbbing bassline and counterpointing quirky melody, almost acts as a misdirect for the remaining three tracks which go with more of a chill-out or a darkly ambient vibe. The titular Ritual Spirit, featuring Ezekel, is quite simply amazing, with its beautiful guitar melody, rhythm loops, and haunting vocals. It is relaxing while hiding a dark edge.
The varied syncopations of Voodoo In My Blood further expands on the hint of tension created by Ritual Spirit, and the guitar riff – which wouldn’t be out of place in a softer Nine Inch Nail’s song – further punctuates the mood. The warmth in the vocals, provided by Scottish hip-hop group Young Fathers, prevents the song from becoming overwhelmingly heavy. Take It There, with 3D and Tricky providing contrasting vocal counterpoints, effectively uses echoing piano and droning guitar to compliment the mood created by the preceding tracks while also creating a sense of space and relief for the listener, which proves to be the ideal end to Ritual Spirit.