Just Beyond My Headphones

May 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

"Shadow From Tartarus" swoops in and shit starts getting heavy. Jet engine bass drones and extra-terrestrial fuzz-hummin' scales winding upward with twinkly theatricality, head-swimming swarms and disarmingly subdued beats just barely but effectively pulsing along, feeling timeless, mood-less, band-less, is this a rave or is just night-driving music, am I to meditate or am I to undulate?

U.K.producer Darren Cunningham, as Actress has, hopefully, plopped the tombstone (R.I.P) down upon the whole dubstep dust-up across ballyhoo blog-world. His dabbling with techno/house blends and ambient noise-experimentation channeled into decently danceable/heady-mood music were commendable for their defiance of categorization - and his latest does not disappoint in that regard.

There's ideas followed for a bit too long or taken a bit too far, here and there on R.I.P, (over-spilling the crankety noise-grinds or the shushy video-game-tinged percussive scrolls) but, still, somehow he sews it all together to make some kind of wonderful, beguiling sense; succeeding most notably by balancing it all at the top, never going over it. Some of these songs are downright alluring and yet strikingly subdued; as though there's some clandestine club of techno-whipped coolness blaring in the other room, the room just beyond my headphones, putting images of flashing lights and darkened corners and crowded dancefloors into my head but not forcing me into the jostle and juke; yes, somehow, also facilitating that same kind of late night contemplativeness wrought from chant-like, drum-circle-esque meditations mined in the steady beat, looping blips and soothing hums of these synthesized psalms.

~out last week on Honest Jon's