The influences peel off like stickers on a notebook. Utilizing Bomb Squad-confrontational production and subtly primitive IDM textures, Tricky's uniquely muddy form of soundclash shocked the mid-90s listening populace with his merger of angular, raw sampling, dark synth innovation, and pseudo-intellectual lyrics to build the convention-destroying music of Maxinquaye. A collaborative effort from a former husband/wife team, Adrian Thawes and singer Martina Topley-Bird, demonstrated a bizarrely genuine chemistry in such shielded music. Topley-Bird's distinctively British dialect developed a refreshing retreat from her more typical peers, yielding a more modern voice for a changing musical landscape. As she sings, Tricky's monstrously cracking vocals shadow hers to make the listening experience a more personal feat than many pieces before it.
Borrowing more than lyrics from his previous tenure guesting for Massive Attack, Tricky's producer/singer relationship is stronger than the interplay in more linear genres, making this an obsessive work of customization. Unforgettable moments appear frequently, from the gorgeously hard drum break of "Ponderosa" to the clicking future saloon shootout screamer of "Strugglin'" to the Michael Jackson-sampling "Brand New, You're Retro". It's hard to imagine the landscapes of modern electronica and underground hip-hop without this record's influence.