“If I Hit You, You’d Feel It”: Leslie Winer, Trip Hop’s Forgotten Pioneer
by Wyndham Wallace
Some say that Leslie Winer aka © invented trip hop in 1990 with her album, Witch. Now she’s back with a retrospective compilation and Wyndham Wallace meets the reclusive former supermodel.
It is, as we’ll no doubt be frequently reminded by its forthcoming deluxe reissue, 21 years since Massive Attack released Blue Lines, giving birth – history insists – to the genre now known as trip hop. Its slackened beats, stoned delivery and dependence upon dub, hip hop, soul and electronic music, were – to most people – revelatory, while its “shift toward a more interior, meditational sound”, as Simon Reynolds described it, helped establish one of the defining musical styles of the first half of the 1990s.
“Really, there was absolutely no coverage around the original release of Witch,” she says. “It went almost completely unnoticed. Just a few people listened to it, as far as I know. My name wasn’t even on the original release” – it was simply credited to © – “and even on the first official release it was one name amongst a long list of people who contributed. It’s only the Virgin France release that put that horrendous Halloween-y cover on it and my name. Praise for my music has always been totally fucking slim to totally fucking… nothing. Nobody is interested.”