The UK-based electronic musician Actress will return with a new LP called AZD (pronounced “azid”) on April 14th via Ninja Tune. The conceptually motivated album was influenced by the African-American outsider artist James Hampton, Afro-Futurist/Hip-Hop pioneer Rammellzee, as well as the desire to make his music sound like chrome. But, speaking with DAZED this week, Darren Cunningham might have discussed the most crucial aspect of his sonic aesthetic when he explained:
“…interference is a big thing. I like to put my music in a place where it’s like it’s trying to come through a radio signal, trying to emerge through a band frequency…I’ll be travelling around listening to Lightning FM and I can never pick up that radio station clearly, but I don’t care because I really like the sound of R&B trying to emerge through white noise, and interchanging with classical music because it’s not quite on the right band.”
That can be heard on this new track, “X22RME” (pronounced “extreme”). While many of the cuts on the 2014 LP Ghettoville (Werk Discs, Ninja Tune) had a spectral quality, with sonic aspects of techno haunting the work, here Cunningham’s love for genre progenitors like Juan Atkins and Derrick May is more forcefully pronounced. But still, the track’s hard driving bass throb seems filtered through a veil of white noise, as the track’s melodic content floats like a vapor trail through whimsically arpeggiating data clouds. Eventually, the structure begins to break down, as though a genetic flaw had been encoded in the whole, before a voice cryptically discusses the subjectivity of our collective experience.
Actress’ video for “X22RME” was directed by Dan Emmerson, and it features a rather menacing looking welder, as well as three equally imposing, futuristically clad compatriots. What they’re up to, is anyone’s guess.