Stotty returns with a brand new album which is sure to get fans of the dark recesses of eerie electronic music excitable over the coming months. By the looks of the press release, it might be a varied affair veering from sparse and downcast to motorik and driving to brutal analogue jammzzzz. The track I'm listening to is a slow burning dark brooder with techy instrumentation and heavily affected vocals leading to a quite sublime piece of music. Gonna be big 'n' bleak, get ready.
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- Faith In Strangers by Andy Stott
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What has Andy Stott been up to since 2012’s shimmeringly reverberated Luxury Problems? As it turns out, he’s still been obsessing over his piano teacher’s voice, as well as recording his mate playing none other than the humble euphonium. This new one could signal a wider range of styles than ever before, and from the get-go those suspicions are confirmed.
The start of the album is relatively slow for one so closely associated with techno, albeit its looser, more spacey twin. You’re greeted with some deep horn swells on ‘Time Away’ before ‘Violence’ drops a steady 808 beat underneath subtle vocal work and screeching but sparse electronic melodies. The expansive sound of Luxury Problems is retained in full, with Stott’s instrumental imagination progressing to allow any and all sources in. It is only at track 4 that we once again meet the intensely frantic Andy Stott, but even with such a fast kick and hat pattern, the FlyLo-esque emphasis on a quarter time groove and drawn out melodic swells sounds almost chilled. This is all about the teasing I can take, and by the time ‘No Surrender’ enters the headphones, my face is marginally torn off. What at first seems like a sparkly melodic tune quickly turns into pitched kicks pounding over raw distorted synth lines, and the LP is in full swing. Perhaps the peak of Faith in Strangers lies at ‘Damage’ - a grimy dirtball that is led by a wild resonant analogue ‘bass’. Punishing.
Time has to be taken here to appreciate Alison Skidmore’s vocal contributions. Whether she’s warbling beautifully clear tones or having her breathy treated gasps crushed under Stott’s rawer material, her voice is an essential partner to his mean but ethereal production style, and at present it is hard to imagine them apart. Let’s just see what happens there, but for now, sit down, kick back and trip out.
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