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Friday 7 February 2020

The Wheel Keeps Turning

Since posting Massive Attack's 1991 single Unfinished Sympathy I've been listening to my fairly battered copy of Blue Lines and some of the 12" singles that surrounded it. There's no getting away from the brilliance of the album and especially it's final song, the whale sound, Buddhist, ecology trip hop/ ambient beauty of Hymn Of The Big Wheel. The heartbeat drum opens it, there's didgeridoo and then the sound envelopes the room before Horace Andy begins his wonderful, androgynous vocal. The lyric, a man talking to his child, about life and its cyclical nature, the weather, inequality, cities and factories, the sunset, the need to have one's soul mended. It's breathtaking stuff.

Nellee Hooper did a remix not too far removed from the album version but more breakbeat- led and with a heart stopping piano part. Co- written (and sung on uncredited) by Neneh Cherry, if you needed another reason to love it. They can play this at my funeral.

'The big wheel keeps on turning
On a simple line day by day
The earth spins on its axis
One man struggle while another relaxes'

Hymn Of The Big Wheel (Nellee Hooper Remix)


The Swede said...

A sublime tune SA. The one time I had the opportunity to catch Massive Attack live in the mid-1990s, I was struck down by a vicious migraine and spent the whole show vomiting in the foyer of the venue, being looked after by St John's Ambulance staff who probably assumed that I'd over-indulged, though nothing could've been further from the truth. I'd been looking forward to the show for months, but it turned out to be an horrendous evening.

Michael Doherty said...

Bugger. I saw them on one of the tours supporting the Protection album. I think I may have overindulged enough that night for both of us!

Swiss Adam said...

Sounds awful Swede.

Echorich said...

Saw them at the legendary S.O.B's in Lower Manhattan on the Blue LInes Tour. They didn't come out until about 1am if I remember correctly. That is one of my favorite club shows ever. It was their US debut, they had everyone in tow, Horace Andy, Tricky, Shara. Damn it will be 30 yrs ago in the summer of 2021...