Darren Cunningham, better known as producer Actress, is returning with new album ‘AZD’ via Ninja Tune on 14th April. There were those who thought he might have retired, but it turns out that he’d just been exploring a parallel universe where he’s been conjuring a unique and globalised vision of what electronic music should sound like. For the record, he’s been inspired by black artists James Hampton and Rammellzee, who created works by “sourcing castaway materials from their environment and reinterpreting them into absolute majesty given from the fourth dimension.”
‘X22RME’ (pronounced “extreme”) is a stunning example of this working practice. Cunningham has pieced the track together from three hours of different passages, pieced together from clips found on tapes, CDs, old computers and USB sticks. In the end he made fifty different versions of the tune, but this final incarnation has travelled through time and space to reveal itself as a constantly twisting and turning slice of techno. Kicking off with a gorgeous yet melancholy string section, Cunningham soon introduces the pulsating beats, layering elements across the top before ending in a climax of overlapping spoken phrases. In theory, the disparate elements shouldn’t work, but in Cunningham’s hands they become a unified, cosmic whole.