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- Luxury Problems by Andy Stott
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When I heard the Stottster was featuring guest vocals by his ex-piano teacher on his latest big record I gawped at the press release and re-read it about three times in disbelief. Had he lost his marbles or was he talking the piss? Well, neither it seems. Alison Skidmore has indeed got a lovely voice. Whether she ever expected it to one day grace a selection of grumbling trippy benzo-tech soundscapes I very much doubt.
His recent pair of (excellent) double EPs raised the bar for experimental techno considerably higher than anyone expected. Dark and ominous, cavernous and delightfully suffocating in places, this was the sound of a seriously lethargic yet weighty new dimension to techno. Music for minds rather than feet. Simon Reynolds probably listened to 'Passed Me By' and had another intellectual fit about the link between ketamine and this new darker strain of contemporary dance music. I swear we got a pre-order for 'Luxury Problems' off someone called Mr. Ed the other day.
So, the ponderous dynamic and stunted BPM rate remains similar but this debut offering avec vocals comes across as less intense and increasingly dreamy yet retains a serious density and deft rhythmical focus that elevates it beyond much of the electronica coming through right now. This is possibly one of the finest electronic albums I've had the fortune to hear this year, Stott layers his funereal four/four pieces with some wild murky sonic debris, death-rattle dub stylings and on occasion, celestial ambience.
The lady Skidmore, on the many tracks she features on, brings forth the sort of angelic soulful blissed-out vibe that is kinda reminiscent of classic early Orbital records even though the music is considerably different. Her voice often recalls someone famous but I can't quite put my finger on it. I bet she was seriously stunned on hearing this strange and enticing sound-world he had built around her sublime acapellas which range anywhere from ethereal wisp to neo-operatic. Honestly, just totally treat yourself to this...
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