February 21, 2013

Rev You: Actress – Silver Cloud 12″

UK electro-auteur Darren Cunningham, aka Actress, returns to the fold with another dark, hazy 12er on his own Werk Discs imprint.

Over the last 3 years, Actress has garnered a well-deserved reputation as a mysterious boundary-pusher, and his 2012 LP “RIP” solidified his cult status. His willingness to avoid consonance in favor of more “difficult” fare is laudable, and this 12″ is an excellent continuation of his intimate, “deep n’ damaged” sound.

Silver Cloud’s A-side is a 10-minute excursion into lo-fi haze, obscurely titled “Voodoo Posse Chronic Illusion”. Built out of chirping, bit-crushed lead, off-kilter rhythms, and IDM-style mystery tones, the entire track is bathed in a heavy static. Every sound serves more as an interruption in the omnipresent fuzz, as the intense side-chaining of each hit creates loping ghost rhythms. No-fi drum loops and plaintive guitar strum round out the “rainy-day” vibe, interrupted around the half-way point by a single, wistful vocal line.

Things get a little more sinister on the flip, though the baked-tape tone wash remains. Barely liminal vocals chant mantras of “Ecstasy”. Hissing hats, and a plodding, minor bassline give the proceedings a “chopped n screwed” vibe, but with a compositional rigor and persistent haze that keep it from genre baiting.

The last cut maintains a “throwed” style with pitched down clock strikes set to mutant slaps of the tape-mangled variety. Might be best described as Basic Channel at 16 RPM + “Devil Shit”-era Triple Six? Regardless, the lo-fi home-taped vibe captured here is what made the early “anything goes” experiments of proto-IDM weirdos like Boards of Canada and Lego Feet so compelling, but with a distinctive post-everything edge.

Nothing streaming, so peep bootleg of track 3 HERE.