Actress Vinyl, CD & tapes by Actress at Norman Records
When touring his excellent book, Retromania, journalist Simon Reynolds suggested that Actress was the only musician he could think of who hadn't succumbed to temptation of nostalgia. Whether or not you agree with Reynolds, it's hard to argue that the ex-West Brom player doesn't consistently produce music that is entirely his own, and rarely feels like it's looking back.
This sense of progression was taken to the Nth degree on Actress's most recent solo album (as of writing), AZD. Everything from its artwork to its sonic textures were inspired by chrome, a material that has long been present in all sorts of visions of the future. But Actress has always been forward looking. Splazsh, arguably his breakout album, is 14 tracks of absolutely mind bending electronic music that still is completely beyond the utterly limited house-techno spectrum. The inability to pigeon-hole him has seen him release on many of the most forward-looking labels in electronic music like Ninja Tune, Honest Jon's and Nonplus. He's also released on Werkdiscs, a label Actress co-founded with two friends who he ran a club night at the start of the millennium.
Where will he go next? Whatever happens, it'll likely be exciting. Though if LAGEOS, his most recent release and a collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra, is anything to go by, Actress may well be settling into his well-deserved role as an Elder Statesman of electronic music.