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Over the past few years, ANDY STOTT has proved himself one of the most gripping producers around. In addition to his prolific solo output dating back to 2006, Stott has also released several albums with label mate Miles Whittaker (one-half of Demdike Stare) under the moniker Millie & Andrea. After an eclectic and adventurous series of 10″‘s and EPs, Stott proved his full potential on 2012’s outstanding Luxury Problems. Working with his old piano teacher Alison Skidmore’s inspired singing, Stott crafted arguably one of the most original dance albums of the year, and certainly one of the best releases on the UK’s Modern Love.

Stott returns this year with his fourth full-length release, the first since Luxury Problems under his own name, Faith in Strangers. Skidmore joins Stott again on the new album, lending her vocals to several tracks, including lead single “Violence”. What starts with a slow build of eerie beats and ghostly vocals soon bursts into a heavy bass and tons of distortion. If Luxury Problems wasn’t enough proof that Skidmore and Stott aren’t highly compatible artists, then the propulsive track “Violence” certainly instills that faith. The lush sound of her operatically trained voice completely contradicts the dark and heavy feeling that Stott brings to the table, giving a beautiful fullness to his work.

Other highlights include the relatively brief “Faith in Strangers,” which exudes the infectious intention of a pop single, but eludes excpections all the same. The track has a much lighter, carefree atmosphere than much of his output. A simple bass riff carries the track out while Skidmore’s airy croons lift the track up to a feel-good status. “How it Was” showcases a style similar to his work in Millie & Andrea, with dubby riddims echoing in endless space.

Faith in Strangers is a worthy follow-up to Luxury Problems, one that further establishes Stott’s ability to bring a charged, unpredictable energy to contemporary techno, one that bridges the divide between inverted and often esoteric experimentation and jubilant dancefloor effectiveness.

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