Step Inside – Actress’s ‘Ghettoville’
Hi – I’m Keith, one of the new contributors of FMLB – and you’ll hopefully see my famous drunken ramblings from the smoking areas of London parties to an actual coherent form. I’ll start my contributions off with this review.
Actress just released his highly anticipated ‘Ghettoville’. Apparently leaving the title to retire along with its signature ominous sounds; or so we’re led to believe. It’s an interesting narrative to lead into your expectations of this album.
And if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s here. The album an orchestra of glittering lo-fi beats, echoing drones and splutters of rarely-used drum machines. Yet every track is surprisingly different to the last, and can sometimes show a stark contrast of the dark clockwork intermissions to slow blissful techno. The album can sound well-ordered, yet clumsy at the same time – but that’s a testament to his proficiency at creating these perfectly scattered rhythms.
Tracks like Corner and Birdcage sound like a pieces undiscovered weird techno gems on a 90’s tape-cassette. Drum machines battle out space for one another, before old Yamaha-esque keyboard synths creep in for the fills. Then Our comes in straight with a glittery yet smooth melody that sounds almost arpeggiated, soon followed by a heavily swung light drum ensemble soon flickering over the top before it’s engulfed by the bass. Between-tracks like Time then remind you of the soundscape you’re in, before you visit the next track.
Rap has emerged already as one of the strongest tracks of the album, sampling David Grant’s “Wrap Yourself Around Me” and could definitely serve as a slow jam on Valentines night. I didn’t expect that, but it’s fueled by its addictive simplicity.
Rule wraps everything up with turning a drunkenly swung sample of Crystal Waters into an upbeat dance that brings his finale away from the darker sound that followed it. The kalimbas scatter and echo through as the vocals fade in and out, yet suddenly cuts as the album has finished; just like that. Almost unsatisfactory (but not – it’s an excellent finale to Actress as we know him), you’ll go in for a second listen. And a third.
Download Actress’s Ghettoville here.