Located roughly 120 miles due west of London, Bristol is a historically vital, economically prosperous seaport with an ethnically diverse population north of 400,000, making it England’s sixth largest city. More importantly, for the team here at Albumism, Bristol is the creative and spiritual birthplace of one of the most thrilling music movements of the past 25 years: trip-hop.
At the risk of genre oversimplification, trip-hop represents the musical style that developed in the early-to-mid 1990s, predicated upon the confluence of electronic, hip-hop, dub, bass, R&B, funk and jazz music, among other sonic inspirations. Trip-hop attained both critical and commercial success globally, due in large part to the dynamic trio of Bristol-bred artists that originally developed the aptly-named “Bristol Sound”: Massive Attack, Portishead, and Tricky.
But the musical history of Bristol does not begin and end with trip-hop’s ascendance in the final decade of the 20th century. On his most recent BBC Radio 6 broadcast, the perennial tastemaker Gilles Peterson explores the city’s extensive musical legacy, from the reggae/dub sound systems and post-punk of the late 1970s to the arrival of hip-hop in the 1980s and early 1990s to the aforementioned emergence of trip-hop to the jungle, drum and bass, and dubstep of more recent years.
During the 3-hour tribute show, Peterson spins a wondrous mix comprised of over 50 Bristol blessed tunes, and chats with an impressive handful of the city’s most influential and innovative artists. Geoff Barrow (of Portishead), DJ Krust, Jabulani (of Black Roots), Janine Rainforth (of Maximum Joy), Roni Size, and Mark Stewart (of The Pop Group) are among those that sit down with Peterson to pay homage to Bristol’s 40+ year musical heritage.
Stream the entire broadcast for a limited time and view the full tracklisting via BBC Radio 6 here.