This is a thoroughly researched exploration of one of the most original, unexpected, and durable British albums of the 1990s. An album which distilled a genre from the musical, cultural, and social ether, Portishead's "Dummy" was such a complete artistic achievement that its ubiquitous successes threatened to exhaust its own potential. RJ Wheaton offers an impressionistic investigation of "Dummy" that imitates the cumulative structure of the album itself, piecing together portraits and interviews, impressions of time and place, cultural criticism, and a thorough exploration of the music itself. The approach focuses as much on the reception and response that "Dummy" engendered as it does on the original production of the album. How is it that so many people have, collectively, made a quintessential headphone album into a nightclub album? How have they made the product of a niche local scene into an international success? This is the story of how an innovative, experimental album became the iconic sound for the better part of a decade - and an aesthetic template for the experience of music in the digital age. "33 1/3" is a series of short books about a wide variety of albums, by artists ranging from James Brown to the Beastie Boys. Launched in September 2003, the series now contains over 60 titles and is acclaimed and loved by fans, musicians and scholars alike. 'It was only a matter of time before a clever publisher realized that there is an audience for whom "Exile on Main Street" or "Electric Ladyland" are as significant and worthy of study as "The Catcher in the Rye" or "Middlemarch"...The series, which now comprises 29 titles with more in the works, is freewheeling and eclectic, ranging from minute rock-geek analysis to idiosyncratic personal celebration' - "The New York Times Book Review", 2006. 'A brilliant series...each one a word of real love' - "NME" (UK).