Actress, Harrier ATTK/Gershwin

[Nonplus]


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Actress’ first release on Instra:mental’s NonPlus+ label last year acted as a harshly angular, mechanistic companion to the slightly more organic Splazsh, and the follow-up is no different. “Harrier ATTK” somehow manages to cobble a beat together out of a firestorm of dropping bombs and swooping chords, and the trebly screech of it all makes it hard to pick out which sound is the kick drum and which is just the pounding harbinger of doom. The blown-out, chewed-up high frequencies perfectly evoke the kind of old computer game that the title references, and “ATTK” is the London producer’s most decisive and immediately impressive tracks in ages, building up, detonating and dismantling bombs of in the context of what might otherwise be called a house track.

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The languid “Gershwin” touches on a more familiar, stoned side of Actress, its swampy undulations stuck in locked groove like a scanner in an infinite loop. Each wave of harshly filtered frequency bands crashes into the kick until the track is a gorgeous slow-motion panorama of splashing 8-bit waves. Hidden beneath the seemingly opaque surface is a world of grainy detail, and you can hear distinct melodies straining to express themselves behind the din of relentless chord sustain. Darren Cunningham might not go out of his way to make music that sounds at all friendly or accessible, but time and time again there’s something captivating and visceral about his work, a quality that ropes you in a few seconds into “Harrier ATTK” and doesn’t let go until you wash up in the lapping calm of “Gershwin.”

Blaktony  on March 17, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Actress delivers an soundscape of post-apocolyptic, hyper chills…. And i thank him 4 it. (Great tune).

Will c.  on March 23, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Glad to see this getting the high praise it deserves–I like it at least as much as anything off Splazsh, and I liked Splazsh quite a bit. Hazy, evocative, and kinetic, all at one time.

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