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actress - Hazyville
We know we say this a lot, but this one's seriously been a long time coming, building expectation levels to an unprecedented high. The incredible talents of Actress have previously only appeared on a pitifully small but perfectly formed number of releases, from his inception to our personal 'Rhythm Hall Of Fame' with his 'No Tricks' 12" way back in 2004, to remixes for Various Production and Alex Smoke, Mr Cunningham's output has remained meagre but incredibly well respected. A good amount of his time has been taken up running the well established Werk Discs imprint, a label borne from the aftermath of his Hyperdub night with Steve Goodman some 6 years ago, presenting convention challenging acts like Zomby, Radioclit, Lukid, or Disrupt for our pleasure ever since. He's since found some spare minutes to assemble this amazing set of specialized Actress styles, inviting us into the a sonic universe encompassing heartfelt Detroit house and techno abstractions, post-bump R'n'B reconfigurations and ephemeral electronica in a truly idiosyncratic style. 'Again The Addiction' ignites the set with a production sounding like a more narcotic Kenny Larkin, it's purely unhinged Detroit techno with a psyched sound design that will fry your head. 'Doggin' trips out on some warm and woozy Theo P style house vibes, while 'Ivy May Gilpin' is the first of a number of tracks which seriously remind us of the brilliant NWAQ album 'The Dead Bears' in the best way possible with a submerged and percussive house vibe achieved by very few. 'I Can't Forgive You' sits deep at the bottom of this particular ocean with an ultra slow and vibing track, flowing with slowly shifting chord changes and decorated in deliciously mottled FX textures to reduce you to a stunned mess, while 'Redit 124' brings us to the earlier sound of the 'No Tricks' EP with a razor edited 313 glitch 'n jack track sounding like Anthony 'Shake' Shakir in his prime. But it's title track 'Hazyville' that's the real showstopper, a massively crushing electro variation that cleverly uses the compression tools at his disposal to squeeze out every last drop of robo-funk and static coated synthline pressure he can manage, turning in a truly sick wriggler that we've had on repeat for weeks. If you're still with us, check out 'Green Gal' at the end, again reminiscent of that NWAQ psyche house sound, bleeping and churning with a charcter of it's own but relentlessly deep and involving to the point of emotional implosion. This album has completely lived up to the hype we'd given it inside our own heads and if you can't be arsed checking the samples, just trust us that this is the finest blend of Theo Parrish, NWAQ & Flylo style rhythm magic that you're going to hear all year, or quite possibly the next for that matter! Onwards...