Tricky / Various Back to Mine

Tricky has always been a frightening figure with his tough guy mumble and take-no-shit stance. On his mixed compilation for DMC’s Back to Mine series we find that Tricky would most likely pour you a hot cup of tea and spin some dark pop for you on that trip to his pad. The collection starts with a great genre-bending mix that flows seamlessly from the Cure, to a Tricky original to Eric B & Rakim to the Beat’s "Mirror in the Bathroom.” As Tricky notes in the liners "Because of Massive Attack people probably think I listen to a lot of hip-hop at home, but I don’t.” Eric B is actually the only hip-hop represented here. Tricky is a huge Kate Bush fan and she gets a nod with "Eat the Music” while he samples some of the best melodic punk past and present with the Buzzcocks and Le Tigre. We also get a taste of the romantic with Gregory Isaacs’ "Night Nurse” and Chet Baker’s warm rendition of "My Funny Valentine.” Shadows of Tricky’s own material can be caught in the soulful groove of Dr. John’s "Loop Garoo” and the low relentless rumble of Morphine. Another part of Tricky’s public persona that does ring true here is an artistic arrogance that makes him a relentless self-promoter. Five of the 16 tracks here are owned by his Brown Punk imprint, including two of his own tracks, collaborating with friends and three new soulful discoveries; the trippy Costanza ("she is the female version of me”), the 14-year-old popster Liz Densmore ("I heard one song and signed her — this is going to be a hit record”) and a slow-jam from Lickle Kings featuring Shola ("this is the future of black music”). So unlike other records in the Back to Mine series, this one not only exposes the warm heart behind the tough guy but provides a preview of what to check next. (DMC)