With their 1994 debut album Dummy, Portishead helped elevate trip-hop from the underground to award-level mainstream prominence
Portishead may remain the most interesting enigma of the 1990s. First is Beth Gibbons, who channels Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, Billie Holiday, and Jane Birkin into an unmatched vocal for the decade. Second is Geoff Barrow, creating 60s and 70s sounding spy movie and spaghetti western sound scapes via downtempo, gothic, and hip-hop samples and influences, with the tone-perfect playing of Adrian Utley on guitar. Though cast with trip-hop peers Massive Attack, DJ Shadow, and Bjork, Portishead forge an entirely unique path.
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