Actress R.I.P.

The ghosts of shuttered Detroit nightclubs still sputter on South Londoner Darren Cunningham's most recent collection of inspired, genre-beating vignettes under the Actress pseudonym, only they find a deeper resonance within R.I.P.'s immersive and engaging universe than on 2010's Splazsh or 2008's Hazyville. Setting the mood immediately are a trio of bleary, cinematic opening tracks that serve as the premise for a greater conceptual arc that takes cues from Genesis, musicological tome Music of the Spheres and Milton's Paradise Lost. R.I.P.'s soundscapes are rendered with a pleasantly weird cacophony of left-field sampling and deeply textured sound design. The Actress equation is bolstered by venerable song craft that's apparent within tunes such as the delicate "Jardin," revelatory ambient closer "IWAAD" and in more familiar realms ("The Lord's Graffiti," "Marble Plexus"). The seemingly strange power that Actress has is to disorient the listener (i.e., the visceral shock accompanying the tonally maximal "Shadow From Tartarus"), though this contrast mostly allows for R.I.P.'s intricate and detailed beauty to thrive just beneath the cracks. (Honest Jon's)