Faro, PT, 8800
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Pina Bausch Vollmond


Created in 2006 as a tribute to Thomas Erdos, the agent, confidant and counsellor of Pina Bausch,
Vollmond accentuates the profound humanity of dancers of all ages and origins as they portray solitude,
the desire for love, laughter and tears, unfeeling apathy and startling vitality. Poignant,dizzying and
amazing solos are danced on a bare proscenium. These alternate with encounters, games of sensual or
playful seduction and comical theatre sketches amidst Peter Pabst’s amazing set design.
Centred round a huge lunar-like rock, Bausch’s cherished theme of water surges and resurges. A lake
appears, and a dancer floats by on an airbed while others swim. Under intermittent rain, the performers
fight and frolic as water falls in a downpour or as a fine drizzle. Like a pagan ritual, the piece
ketches powerful images whereby “Pina Bausch portrays a dream of life where reality and fairy-tale
worlds are compatible.
PINA BAUSCH (1940-2009)
Pina Bausch was one of the dominant figures of dance of the past four decades, an artist who
made an immense contribution to the influential dance-theatre movement. Starting in 1976 she
dismantled the usual codes of dance composition, presenting puzzles of discontinuous narration
where dance alternated with acting.
In 1973 Pina Bausch became artistic director of the Wuppertal Opera Ballet, an institution that she
renamed Tanztheater Wuppertal two years later, instigating a veritable revolution with the advent of
the dance-theatre movement. Based in an industrial city in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, the
company performs some thirty shows a year there, in addition to its many performances abroad. 29 of the 42 pieces in her repertoire are still performed.



Massive Attack


For the longest time, I couldn’t see Massive Attack as a person, or any collection of people. I thrived off the ensnarement, the feeling of blackness encroaching, measured with a surreal clarity. And, really, the group has swirled into one of the shadow-like entities that their music evokes, as members fade out, guest vocalists fade in, and Robert '3D' Del Naja grips the helm. Ritual Spirit carries the torch of that polymorphic enigma – but something’s changed. A foul wind blows. Spectres have slipped through the storm-grey ramparts of Heligoland. Walls collapse. But this is no undoing – MA thrives on dilapidation.

First things first. Chances are, you’ve heard that Bristol’s most infamous ghoul, Tricky, has crept back into the Massive Attack camp. He departed in 1995 to grow his own necrotic power after calling Maximquaye to the earth, and had no need to haunt his former mates ever since. But here he is today, on the last track – and now you ask me, should we be excited about this, Lee?

Well, sure, but wait until you hear Roots Manuva on 'Dead Editors'. Jesus, man. The prodigal grime rapper of Ninja Tune infamy comes in slick as a hot blade through butter, and steps deep into woofer-shaking beats that bounce heavy through MA’s eerie choirs and intricate gadget ensembles (which, perhaps because of “Teardrop” and House, always remind me of hospital tech). Add the mystery of Manuva himself – when he says “what does would it take to get back to the blackness, he could refer to the night sky void, or the hole in our eyes, or the more obvious racial connotation – and you’ve got MA’s most beguiling urban ode since the gritty soliloquies of Blue Lines.

The other invaders to turn MA upside down are Young Fathers, the Scottish rap trio who send seismic shockwaves wherever they land. Like 'Dead Editors', 'Voodoo In My Blood' shakes down the ponderous soundscapes, this time with a relentless analogue throb reminiscent of Young Fathers’ own output. Paired with 3D’s creeping guitar vines and the guests’ downright sinister refrain (”wipe that cheeky grin and come on down”), it’s another jolt to the old MA schema.

Now, yeah, the second half of the EP kills too, but with a more familiar misty choke. Though the title track is the least memorable one on Ritual Spirit, that’s not Azekel’s fault – his icy falsetto ballad is just inevitably overshadowed by the delicious piano sulk of 'Take It There'. Mmm. Tricky and 3D interweave like – like – fuck it, like two voices that know exactly what powers they possess to infiltrate and captivate, that Tricky’s strength is to stagger and 3D’s is to glide. Like this is their turf, and it’s always been theirs, and it’s just taken 20 years to reclaim it together.

In itself, then, Ritual Spirit tantalises with the promise of a staggering force should the next LP surface soon. But it also invites lots of questions – like, can we expect more appearances from Tricky? (Please? Pretty please?) Also, will we see another unworldly siren grace the new lineup? MA’s most glorious moments – 'Teardrop', 'Unfinished Symphony', 'Protection' – gained their angelic light from women, after all, so I was disappointed to see a lack thereof on the EP. Maybe that’s me being nitpicky, though, as the only major flaw in Ritual Spirit is that it’s not an album. Massive Attack remain less a band, and more an institute of entropy, the light that pierces through the black hole, the frontrunners of a genre that they outran over a decade ago. Let the ramparts fall, then.

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