Returning after the major recognition bestowed upon him after his last record R.I.P, ACTRESS‘ Darren Cunningham is slinging a bleak, yet more dance-able vibe with his new GHETTOVILLE (out on Cunningham’s own WERKDISCS/ NINJA TUNE). Apparently Cunningham has hinted that this might be his last record as ACTRESS, the moniker he’s run with since 2008’s HAZYVILLE. In that time the Brit has shone a light on the frayed edges of electronic dance music, drawing many within and without to his light, helping to give the music the dragging through the mud, the flaying and the stretching and the drying, that many like myself seem to have greatly enjoyed over the last decade.
Cunningham is an electronic music alchemist who brings all kinds of hip-hop elements to the table blending them with myriad electronic music and noise ideas. If R.I.P. is his most out there and abstract album (it is), then GHETTOVILLE sounds like a bit of a retreat from that album, or perhaps a return to something that existed before that record appeared. For my money I enjoy this man’s music when there is some kind of weird funk that I can grasp onto, whether it’s buried or faded or whatever. So I for one welcome GHETTOVILLE. When “Corner” starts up I’m hearing a tattered TIMBALAND-esque beat and groove that marches forward as a sound collage of samples, and other snippets of sound kick up around it, the degree to which varies throughout. Very satisfying for lovers of the odd groove, those less worried about how ACTRESS has or has not been able to further deconstruct the meat of what once was electronic dance music. There’s also a stream below for “Rims”, also from GHETTOVILLE, and like “Corner” it’s a slab of somewhat downer, hip-hop drizzled electronic beat music. Fat bass over there. There are far more experimental tracks than these 2 for you to find if you are looking for them on this record. I just didn’t write about them. Whether this is in reality the last ACTRESS record, or not, I highly anticipate seeing where Darren Cunningham goes from here.