We’ve been awaiting a sizeable new offering from Andy Stott for what feels like an age.
Don’t get us wrong – Stott’s been no slouch in the production department since the release of his debut solo album, Merciless, in 2006, and recently he’s been unleashing a steady of stream of genre-collapsing fiendishly well-produced club material under his Andrea alias (and with Miles Whittaker as Millie & Andrea). But his last “proper” Stott offerings were the heart-stopping 2009 singles ‘Night Jewel’ and ‘Brief Encounter’, and we’ve been hungry for more.
Well, it looks like dinnertime is here. On May 16, Stott will drop Passed Me By, a vinyl double-pack on Modern Love (cover art above) containing seven tracks produced over the last 12 months. According to a press release, Stott has drawn on such influences as Jamal Moss, Arthur Russell, Kassem Mosse and “the alternate VHS realities of” James Ferraro for this new material, and it shows; however, if there’s one artist we particularly think of when listening to the squashed house variations on offer here, it’s Actress. ‘New Ground’, ‘Intermittent’ and ‘North To South’ sound like darker, more sleep-deprived cousins of Darren Cunningham’s Hazyville tracks, or like those Thriller cuts from a couple of years back fed through the hypnagogic grinder.
Don’t get us wrong: this mini-album sparkles with originality and a singular energy. Particularly striking is ‘Dark Details’, a groaning, droning work of apocalyptic steppers’ techno in line with recent End Of All Existence and Old Apparatus productions. The nightmarish, industrial-flavoured ambience deepens on ‘Execution’, and the closing title track teams brittle, echo-chambered drums with distant, wistful Detroit-derived synths. Trippy these tracks might be, but each one has a taut internal logic that betrays its maker’s musical wisdom and experience, and the cumulative effect of Passed Me By is quite overwhelming.
Yes, this album – mini-album, EP, doublepack, call it what you will – is an uncompromising and hugely absorbing work, by turns brutal and beautiful, from one of the UK’s most talented and criminally underrated producers. It’s really good to have him back.
A2. New Ground
B1. North To South
C1. Dark Details
D2. Passed Me By