Portishead’s Dummy, an arguably perfect album released in 1994, successfully merged hip-hop breakbeat sensibility with a forward-looking electronic style—adding pop hallmarks like great songwriting and excellent vocal performances. Created through an organic artistic process, the record is credited with inspiring a new genre: trip-hop. Despite the term being much-maligned by like-minded artists—including fellow breakthrough Bristol, England acts Massive Attack and Tricky—the sound of Dummy would be widely praised and copied, its genre-bending, minimalistic style still rippling through the soundscpaes of modern millennials.
The album sold over two million copies in Europe, beating out Oasis, Tricky, and PJ Harvey for the coveted Mercury Music Prize, awarded by the British Phonographic Industry for the best album in the U.K. and Ireland. The album is currently just shy of platinum in the U.S., with over 825,000 copies sold at last count. With the 20th anniversary of the album observed in August of this year, one might have suspected the band to attempt to push it to platinum by releasing a neatly-packaged deluxe edition reissue, perhaps collecting all of the b-sides and remixes from its singles. There was certainly enough material to do so.