Songs to the Siren

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Glory Box


22nd August 1994 (LP), 3rd January 1995 (single)


The Bristol Sound, aka Trip Hop, was the dominant sound of this era for me. Grunge was still hanging in there, but this really was something new, and Portishead were at the forefront of it. This song is built on an Isaac Hayes sample that became quite ubiquitous, and is still making an impact on popular music today.

Although this was the third single from Dummy, which went on to win the 1995 Mercury Music Prize, it was the single that led the surge in popularity for Portishead.

Portishead added some esoteric instrumentation to the usual guitar/bass/drums/keys line-up, and also heavily used samples, often spun in from vinyl by a DJ. The main loop you hear through the track is from Ike’s Rap II by Isaac Hayes

The same sample was used by contemporary Bristol artist Tricky on Hell Is Round The Corner from his Maxinquaye album.

It has also seen plenty of use since. One fine example is Here by Alessia Cara. And British professional long-jumper Jazmin Sawyers sang a nice Here / Glory Box medley on The Voice tv show.