VINYL DIG: Massive Attack 'Unfinished Sympathy' bootleg

March 16, 2016
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I wouldn’t say I’m a vinyl junkie, or even an audiophile, but I do have a vast record collection.

I started collecting when I realized the hardcore music I was into was only released on vinyl records. When I started DJing, I found myself in the same situation. All the techno and house of the day was released on vinyl and it would be a few years before CDJ’s came to rise.

Over time my record collection has grown. I wouldn’t say it’s out of hand, it seems that for every three records I buy, I let two go, probably because I justify the expense only when I have a gig that calls for that particular record. It’s also why my collection is all over the place genre-wise. Over the past two decades I’ve had residencies playing all types of music, from House, to Rock and all the throwbacks, to Funk and Disco tracks that make up a ‘Boogie’ set. Again, I’m not a purist about vinyl, nor would I say I’m a snob. It’s just the most fun to play and if you’re not having fun as a DJ, why bother? From time to time, I dig through my modest collection and discover long-forgotten gems, B-sides of singles I’ve never heard, and the more than occasional embarrassment that I needed for a gig (yes, I have original pressings of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany albums). 

Here’s what surfaced from the stack this week:

Massive Attack just released some new music and an app you should check out if you haven’t. Seeing their name brought me back to when I started DJing.

In the early days I was given a white label bootleg of some House and Breakbeat tracks, one of which was Unfinished Sympathy. I didn’t have any idea who the artist was, but I knew I wanted to find more music that sounded like that. I started building a collection of Breakbeats, everything from Trip Hop to Electro. That was the core of my sound until I got into Techno and House music much later. To this day, it’s the sound I prefer to hear. 

It’s been a while since I’ve put the needle on that record, and I wasn’t even sure If I still had it, or if I’d recognize it for that matter. I thought I would dig around and see how it sounds, 20-ish years later, for my first Dig. I got lucky. It was in the top box in a stack of flight cases. Maybe we’ll go for some classic Massive Attack on Subtronic this weekend.

After all, It was a track that revolutionized a sound.

--Zach