On the ladder of post-rave, electronic experimentation, surely the early rungs consisted of artists like Aphex Twin and Autchre. In the nineties, the two pioneered forms of deconstructed techno, music for exploration and consideration, music that, although it was DJed here and there, danced to in bits and pieces, seemed first and foremost to be in search of new sonic territories. And although a wealth of words could be written there, to fast-forward, the most contemporary and currently relevant newcomer to the ladder is Darren Cunningham, Actress. Already having under his belt two full lengths of avant-garde glitch, his newest, R.I.P., the second on London‰۪s seminal Honest Jon‰۪s, is a carefully crafted collection of new sounds. Referring to his pieces as ‰ÛÏstudies‰, it‰۪s hard for to escape an image of the science fiction trope - machines learning from example and, from there, warping and distorting what they‰۪ve observed to new levels. With his references clear, Aphex Twin, Detroit minimalism, Cunningham excels in adaptation and progression, mutating and elevating previous styles. To the tracks themselves; ‰ÛÏMarble Plexus‰ and ‰ÛÏSerpent‰ stand out as the more punch-y of tracks, both sounding as if Cunningham had taken previous traits of techno, thrown them into a blender, and finely tweaked and tuned the chaotic results. Furthermore, both seem to build on his previously DJed-frequently hit, 2010‰۪s ‰ÛÏMaze‰, showing that Cunningham not only carefully studies his forebears but importantly evolves his own work. Tracks like the ambient, gentler ‰ÛÏN.E.W.‰ balance things into a final equilibrium, concluding what becomes a from-start-to-finish captivating and intriguing listen. Most assuredly for any fan of Aphex Twin‰۪s Selected Ambient Works, but moreover, for any fan of what-comes-next. Recommended.
- music label: Honest Jon's 2012