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Karmacoma 7" sleeve
Karmacoma CD inner sleeve

"Karmacoma" was the third single from the album Protection, released on 20th March 1995. Tricky, who collaborated on the track, also recorded his own version of Karmacoma, renamed Overcome for his debut studio album, Maxinquaye. The bass line sample featured is the same bass line used by Serge Gainsbourg in the song Melody from his 1971 album Histoire de Melody Nelson.


Track List

  1. Karmacoma (radio edit) 5:21
  2. Karmacoma (bumper ball dub) 6:01
  3. Karmacoma (the napoli trip mix) 6:10
  4. Karmacoma (Portishead Experience Mix) 4:03
  5. Karmacoma (ventom dub special) 6:08
  6. Karmacoma (UNKLE Situation mix) 5:42



The video was directed by Jonathan Glazer and premiered in May 1995. The video shows a hotel corridor and the occupants of the rooms along the corridor. The band are in one of the rooms accompanied by Tricky and an actress. 3D, Daddy G and Tricky are all dressed in uniforms that say "Texmex" on the front. Mushroom is sitting on the couch with a hand on his stomach, where he apparently has been shot and his shirt is bloody.

The rest of the occupants are shown intermitently throughout the video, and are all engaging in eccentric activities. Some of the scenes cross over from being weird to being supernatural and magical.

  • A man is in the corridor, holding a gun in one hand and a plastic bag with something in it on the other. He's walking backwards and pointing the gun at everything he sees, in a clear state of paranoia and distress. He's sweating and mumbling under his breath, desperately attempting to memorize the room numbers for reasons unknown. At several points he is menaced by two mysterious, identical twin girls (an homage of the 1980 film The Shining), and at one point he glimpses a double of himself, pointing a gun at him.
  • A man with long, unkempt hair and beard is sitting in his room, staring directly into the camera and speaking in a dazed manner. "I am a... dangerous person," he announces at one point. Later: "All those guys I killed... nothing personal." (He bears a strong resemblance to the man with the gun from the corridor, although it is unclear if they are actually intended to be the same person.) At the video's end he tells the camera, "I want to be free... and I am free."
  • A man in one of the rooms is covered with oil among cameras and mirrors, apparently performing some sort of bizarre artwork.
  • A middle-aged man with a moustache is in a room with two women dressed in red satin robes. He asks "Who's gonna be a bad girl, then?". One of the women answers apathetically, "I am".
  • A boy watches tv news in which the journalist covers his half face with his hand. The boy repeats what he sees. As this is happening, a woman dressed in campy, old-fashioned clothing is talking on the phone about the boy.
  • A man plays golf in the corridor.
  • A man attempts to drown a miniature copy of himself in a bathtub.


Some of the scenes in the video were censored in some countries and a second copy of it was made that excluded them.

  • The man with the moustache stands on top of a mattress and sticks his tongue out. He has a big pointed piercing in his tongue.
  • The actress that accompanies the band is resting her head on 3D's shoulder. She then lifts her head, looks straight into the camera and blood spills from one of her nostrils.
  • The man with the gun passes along another version of himself, the second man points the gun at the first. Cut to a different angle, where the first man is alone and pointing the gun where the second man was a second before.
  • The man covered in oil is shown with his index finger stuck inside his stomach. He slowly removes it until it's all out, without leaving a wound or a hole of any kind.