• Maddi Fearn

Massive Attack Confront Global Issues During Lockdown With New Audiovisual EP Eutopia

Created across five cities amidst the worldwide Covid- 19 lockdown, the three track audiovisual release enlists Algiers, Saul Williams and Young Fathers to address the need for worldwide political change.

Production and writing for the EP’s visual element comes from filmmakers Mark Donne and Euan Dickinson as well as Massive Attack’s own Robert Del Naja, known to most as 3D, and to a few as Banksy thanks to the sketchy detective work of some conpsiracy theorists. Additional visuals for the three-track fusion come courtesy of AI Art pioneer Mario Klingemann.

Their first new release since Ritual Spirit in 2016, the EP is inspired by Thomas More’s Utopia, a 16th century socio-political satire which explores the notion of a perfect imaginary society. Endeavouring to cast a spotlight onto the need for immediate system change, Eutopia is underpinned by the voices of three political researchers: Christiana Figueres, who wrote the UN Paris Climate Agreement; universal basic income theorist Guy Standing; and Gabriel Zucman, the professor behind the “wealth tax” policy in America.

Commenting on the project, Massive Attack said: “Lockdown exposed the best aspects and worst flaws of humanity. That period of uncertainty and anxiety forced us to meditate on the obvious need to change the damaging systems we live by.  By working with three experts, we’ve created a sonic and visual dialogue around these global, structural issues; taking the form of climate emergency, tax haven extraction and Universal Basic Income.

The spirit of this EP, its elements and ideas have nothing to do with naïve notions of an ideal, perfect world, and everything to do with the urgent & practical need to build something better. In this sense, Eutopia is the opposite of spelling mistake.”

The speeches delivered by Figures, Standing and Zucman across Eutopia seek to reinforce the need for this urgent change Massive Attack describe, with each focusing on how the Covid- 19 outbreak has and will continue to perpetuate the severity of the political, economic and social problems they describe. As Professor Zucman puts it in his address of the International Tax Haven System, ‘the economic and thus social scarring of the pandemic is without modern precedent’, and its impact will only continue to worsen the gaps already prevalent in society.

Whilst the Pandemic has left Massive Attack and their collaborators scattered thousands of miles apart across the globe, it hasn't stopped them from sharing a unique reflection on how to enact global change. Who knows, perhaps amidst the restructuring taking place during the pandemic Boris Johnson is settling down in no.10 tonight to watch Eutopia as essential viewing, ready to bring it to life.

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BABYSTEP MAGAZINE Est. 2017