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37. Portishead – The Rip



Before their rebirth in 2008, only some haywire game of indie consequences could have found Portishead writing a science-fiction lullaby for classical guitar and analogue synth. But that’s essentially what The Rip is – a flowing, swelling piece of heart-on-sleeve electronica, rippling around simple arpeggios and hushed, folky singing. It’s a testament to the band’s self-confidence that the entire song sounds so natural, even when eliding such disparate timbres. Even when the big-momma synth arrives to replace the cycling guitar line, it appears over the horizon slowly at first, like some end-of-level boss from an 80s computer game, but then keeps growing until some trick of perspective means it’s all you can hear. Pulsing, mechanical and rippling ritualistically, eventually it becomes all-dominating and the piece fades with just that ceaseless electronic thud. Portishead were always eerie and strangely affecting, but The Rip demonstrated their ability to play their trump card in the most unusual of places.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 02/07/2010 10:44 pm

    Thanks for the comment Sam… love your entry on the song… especially the ‘end-of-level boss’ analogy!!

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