In June, The Weeknd unveiled Kiss Land lead track ‘Ready For The World’, which centred around an industrial percussion tattoo that sounded spookily like Portishead’s 2008 single ‘Machine Gun’. The Bristol band snapped back, calling out the track as “a load of bollox” and claiming that the sample had been used without their permission. The Weeknd’s team stood their ground, suggesting the passage in question wasn’t a sample after all, and that there wasn’t sufficient likeness to justify credit; FACT’s Laurent Fintoni subsequently used the row as a jump-off to discuss the ethics of contemporary sampling.
As Pitchfork report, the dirty water between the two camps has yet to pass under the bridge. Yesterday, Barrow reactivated the row on Twitter, posting an image of a letter from The Weeknd’s management requesting license to sample ‘Machine Gun’. The letter, which dates back to February 2013, asks that a “sample from [‘Machine Gun’] is used on a master recording performed by the recording artist p/k/a The Weeknd entitled “You Belong To The World””.
The image, available below, was accompanied by the words: “Hey kids. Part 1 of “No Infringement” @theweeknd”. Both ‘Ready For The World’ and ‘Machine Gun’ are below. Portishead are currently at work on their follow-up to 2008’s career-best Third.