[From Excellent Reception : Episode 4]
While much of the music world looks to make songs that are shiny and perfect, the producer known as Actress looks to create something that is completely outside of that box. Actress, who’s government name is Darren Cunningham, is the founder of the reputable Work Discs record label, which has put out some of freshest music from the UK underground. He has spent the past decade pushing his own style of electronic music far away from the dubstep sounds of his early days.
On his current album “Ghettoville”, Actress’ music speaks with it’s most minimalistic and monochromatic voice to date. Every sound and sample he uses has Been EQ’ed to the point where it is now just a flat shell of it’s former self. Each element is then warped, smudged, and pieced together into brooding cinematic arrangements that sound like they have been high speed dubbed onto cassette tape far too many times. The overall griminess of the sound of this project makes even the most repetitive loop seem like it is constantly evolving.
The album explores all sorts of sonic terrain from warped R&B to wavy ambient vibes, but he never strays too far from his dance music roots. One of the highlights of “Ghettoville” is the slow building yet upbeat track “Gaze”. It kicks off with a gradually evolving beat which eventually makes way for a glaringly optimistic sampled loop to slowly fade in. Suddenly, we are reminded of the fact that Actress knows his way around a dance tune, as the song abruptly turns into a bustling house jam. This is one those moody dance joints that can get an openminded dancefloor worked up at the end of the night.
This is an excerpt from the Excellent Reception podcast. Each episode our host, lil’dave, talks about the stories and influences around a group of carefully selected songs. Subscribe to the podcast now via iTunes.