Actress – AZD - 2017 Downtempo Minimal Techno IDM 2LP
Actress – AZD
Ninja Tune – ZEN 241
2 × Black Vinyl, LP, Album
13 Apr 2017
IDM, Techno, Experimental
A2 Untitled 7
A4 Blue Window
C1 Falling Rizlas
C2 Dancing In The Smoke
C3 Faure In Chrome
D1 There's An Angel In The Shower
Published By – Just Isn't Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Ninja Tune
Copyright (c) – Ninja Tune
Creative Director – Darren J. Cunningham
Creative Director [Additional] – Theresa Adebiyi
Painting [Inner Sleeve] – Eddie Peake
Photography By – Jo_Di Studio, Mehdi Lacoste
Spined sleeves, housed within a chrome silver outer bag with AZD title screen-printed on top. Limited to 500 copies.
Made in EU
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Label Code: LC-12885
Barcode (Scanned): 5054429007558
(Pitchfork) "While *AZD *moves between modes and styles, reaching deep into both Cunningham’s clubbiest and most avant-garde impulses, it maintains a clarity of vision. With the fuzz of *Ghettoville *dialed back a bit, the tracks’ skeletal structures come into relief: it’s generally easy to hear the distinct components of each and to meditate on the album’s juxtapositions. Actress’ plaintive music-box melodies and shuffling beats can loop unchanging for a pop song’s length. “UNTITLED 7” combines a tense synthesized-string passage with a sticky ascending bassline; halfway through, the strings are traded for hi-hats, a small change that relocates the track entirely. “FANTASYNTH” loops a liquid melody over the crunchy pulse of a beat, with some tinny, whirling sounds moving between.
The late New York artist and musician Rammellzee, sampled in “CYN,” looms over AZD. And his language-building (or language-deconstructing) projects seem a particularly useful point of reference. Rammellzee’s “Gothic Futurism” manifesto drew a link between medieval monks and graffiti artists, positing the latter as regaining some multi-dimensional power in the Roman alphabet that, he thought, had been previously quashed by the development of Western culture. Though Cunningham uses words sparingly, mostly in partially-lodged samples, he’s also concerned with the limiting and liberatory possibilities of language. If we think of the structure of a song as itself a vernacular language—guiding us, in the case of dance music, through the builds and drops of a track—Cunningham then develops his own forms, sinking us deep into a soundscape through relentless repetition, and overlaying that space with alternate ideas so that we’re stretched in a few directions at once.
Cunningham’s structures also disintegrate, and those moments of collapse are key. One of AZD’s stated themes is chrome, that highly reflective plating that has intense black-and-white contrasts. Little about this album is aesthetically crisp. Cunningham’s deliberate use of hiss gives the lovely impression that parts of these tracks are playing through an old car stereo—and, more broadly, contributes a sense of space outside of the neutral confines of the club. But when tracks come undone, it’s precipitated by metallic elements breaking apart. “DANCING IN THE SMOKE” maintains a churning pace, a sampled voice instructing or observing: “Dance, hear my record spin.” As another vocal sample interjects to repeat the phrase “the future,” sharp atonal accents pierce through aimlessly. This leads into “FAURE IN CHROME,” which came out of his collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra earlier this year. Passages from Romantic composer Gabriel Fauré’s “Requiem” are interlaid with glitchy squeals, which erode the melancholic tones to reveal new frequencies below."