Dummy by Portishead

Today’s Essential Record is Dummy by Portishead.  Released in 1994, this record is an eerie siren song, luring the listener to the jagged rocks. Dark and haunting with sparse, sensuous grooves, this record creates a strange and mysterious soundscape.  A classic record.  Check it out.


We are Portishead.

Portishead’s Mercury Prize-winning debut takes just seconds to spook its audience.  An eerie drone, scratches that sound like alien chatter, a snapping beat that cracks with hip hop attitude but treads cautiously for fear of stepping on a crack and tumbling into whatever unholy chasm music like this is capable of opening.  Mysterons’ title is apt – named after the Martian race from Captain Scarlett, it’s an emission from a faraway planet of secrets and shadows.  It opens the group’s singular soundworld in a way that’s exquisitely discomforting.

From BW:

British band Portishead came onto the music scene in 1994 with their moody electronica release Dummy. The first single, “Sour Times,” introduced us to singer Beth Gibbons’s tightly controlled, plaintive wail, and the album’s heavy beats melded with crunchy samples and ethereal vocals. The stuttering beat and spy-movie mien of “Sour Times” underlies a ravaged murmur as Gibbons sings like a torch singer trying to power her way out of a clenched (or strangled) throat.  Songs like “Wandering Star,” with Gibbons’s crystalline whisper across a heartbeat rhythm, or the seductive, world-weary ingenue moaning her way through “Glory Box,” are typical of this uncanny, darkly intimate brand of British dance/trip-hop.

Portishead’s website is here.


1. “Mysterons”  0:00
2. “Sour Times”  5:02
3. “Strangers”  9:13
4. “It Could Be Sweet”  13:09
5. “Wandering Star”  17:25
6. “It’s A Fire”  22:18
7. “Numb”  26:03
8. “Roads”  29:58
9. “Pedestal”  35:02
10. “Biscuit”  38:53
11. “Glory Box”  43:42