Upon its release 20 years ago on April 20, 1998, Massive Attack's third LP Mezzanine nearly ended the union of Robert "3D" Del Naja, Grant "Daddy G" Marshall and Andy "Mushroom" Vowles. In fact, not long after it hit the streets, the man they called Mush would leave the renowned trip-hop ensemble altogether, with Daddy G bowing out temporarily shortly thereafter.
"Mezzanine was a pretty sketchy album in terms of the way we worked, because the band, as reported a lot at that time, were not getting on," the album's producer and fellow Bristolian, Neil Davidge, told Sound on Sound magazine in 2003. "So I'd be in the studio working with one of the members and someone else would come in, then the person I had been working with would leave and I'd have to change the track I was working on because they didn't want to work on that track, they wanted to work on something different. Sometimes I'd be working on perhaps four different tracks in one day, which was a pretty messy way to work."
Yet what resulted in that perceived mess turned out to be what many consider to be Massive Attack's greatest album, despite the absence of the group's secret weapon, quixotic rapper Tricky, who left the fold shortly after Protection to focus on his fledging career as a solo artist. Alongside Davidge behind the board, the group opted to go in a darker, more guitar-driven motif for Mezzanine, flexing their roots in early 4AD dreampop with the appearance of Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins on the album's signature hit "Teardrop" (which has since been used to wide renown as the theme to the sorely missed medical drama House), as well as a darker hue of dub reggae with Jamaican roots legend Horace Andy, the only artist to guest on all five Massive Attack LPs. His appearance on the third Mezzanine single "Angel"—one of three Andy songs on the album—is the one by which he is most well known. The track, which stems from Horace's 1973 lovers rock classic "You Are My Angel," truly takes flight in the remix provided by another longtime Massive associate, British dub giant Neil "Mad Professor" Fraser. And for the Guyana-born DJ and producer, collaborating with Andy was indeed familiar territory.