Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Actress - Splazsh

I've thought about putting this album up for a while now, but always concluded that sharing such a widely-lauded album would be frivolous, because so many people would already have it. I have decided most definitely to jump on the bandwagon though, because it rivals FlyLo's Cosmogramma as possibly the most important electronica album of 2010.
Actress is from London, and it shows. Splazsh makes allusions to most, if not all, of today's trends in electronic music, which makes for an incredibly varied listen. Opener 'Hubble' is one of my personal favorites, presenting a bastardization of deep house which sounds ultra-modern while staying entirely familiar. He's not afraid to reach back for sounds: 'Purrple Splazsh' explicitly investigates the relationship between disco and modern techno, leading into a track that disassembles dubstep. For me, at least, most of the pleasure I get from listening to this album comes from the deconstruction of source material coupled with wonderfully original compositions. The fact that they groove like hell also helps.
The disparate styles present on the album might appear to be a lack of focus, but I would contest that Actress's method is exactly the opposite. Most of the tracks are built up from only a few elements, and are relatively static, giving the listener enough space and time to take in every button tweak, synth stab, and rhythmic twist. This is where the more esoteric tracks really shine, because they are designed to make you think about current music, not just shake your ass. Occasionally, like in 'Always Human', he manages to bring these two elements together, and it's moments like these which make the album required listening.
Only albums as ambitious and expansive as Splazsh have a chance at truly changing the musical landscape. Watch out for Actress, I expect his future work to be quality as well.
He's already off to a good start with this single, released in 2011.