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andy stott - Merciless
Andy Stott has had a very good year, imbuing his effortlessly cool productions with the kind of restless attention deficit that is rarely associated with Techno's typically icy reserve. And so we went from the deep string-laden padded 4/4 of his debut 'Replace' EP to the fierce, driving Basic-Channelisms of the mighty "Ceramics" 12", the warehouse mangle of "Demon in the Attic" and the squashed broken sublow of "Choke". Whilst all this was going on, an album was being very slowly assembled from over 100 tracks eating up valuable space on the reliable Modern Love hard drive. "Merciless" bears the fruit of almost a year's worth of relentless compiling, at one point or another this album could have taken any number of possible shapes and flavours, though the spacious narrative and emotive pulse of the final selection seems destined to have occupied the tracklisting that's infront of us now. Bar "choke" every track here is totally exclusive and previously unreleased, ranging from the suggestive 4/4 romance of album-opener "Florence" to the crushing percussive flutter of Detroit anthem Hi-Rise, to the harrowing simplicity of the title track itself. The end-note comes with a cover-version of Claro Intelecto's classic "Peace of Mind" - a version so wildly inventive and unexpected that it has caused what can only be described as an email frenzy from those lucky enough to have had promo copies of this album in recent weeks. As the track slowly slips "Merciless" into its final, cinematic crescendo, the promise of more to come from one of the most gifted, enchanting producers in the world today drifts into view. This is an album that will appeal to fans of everyone from Villalobos to Murcof, Lawrence to Carl Craig, Luciano to Erik Satie - without exception making itself one of the most effortlessly involving albums 0f 2006 and beyond. An essential purchase.