Actress Ghettoville

Actress Ghettoville
7
One thing that's clear by now about the work of Actress (a.k.a. UK producer Darren Cunningham) is that not only is his work hard to categorize, but you also never really know what to expect. After two full-lengths for Honest Jon's that put Actress on the map, Ghettoville finds Cunningham returning to his own Werkdiscs. Conceived as an answer of sorts to the producer's debut Hazyville back in 2008, Cunningham's fourth album as Actress stands in direct contrast to 2013's stunning and in-your-face Silver Cloud EP.

Dark, cinematic, uneasy and somewhat awkward, Ghettoville is something altogether different. Opening track "Forgiven" sets the tone with its field recordings of birds and traffic and a heel-dragging tempo that stretches out monotonously throughout its seven-plus minutes. Despite several upbeat moments — "Corner" with its cheeky and inimitably Actress melody line, the IDM-ish "Birdcage" and the house-y "Gaze," for example – it has more in common with the recent spate of dark music coming out of the UK, such as Haxan Cloak and the output of the Blackest Ever Black label, as well the U.S.'s Huerco S, all put through the unique Actress filter. An easy listen it isn't, but Ghettoville is full of such textural subtlety, rubbed-raw sound design and spatial aural play that it will leave you somewhat discombobulated yet curious for more.

Read an interview with Actress here. (Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune)