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R.I.P.

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 24, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Honest Jon's
  • ASIN: B007CQ7LPW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,100 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Going into the new album by Actress with certain expectations is a mistake. After Darren J. Cunningham`s release on Honest Jon's Records, Splazsh (2010), one may be predisposed to want to hear even more experimental beats paired with, what the current music scene throws under an umbrella term, bass music. Instead, the mysteriously titled third full-length release, R.I.P, offers an almost beatless series of vignettes and possible studies of truly experimental nature. It's as if Cunningham turned off the beats on purpose. But don't misinterpret that last statement. The rhythm is still there, lurking just beneath the lo-fi subterranean grimy techno pulse. But the gaping dark hole left by the [seemingly] missing kick drum is sucking in all of the remaining sound, with a gated dynamic thump. The fifteen pieces on the album (ranging from 30+ seconds to 6 minutes in length) all carry a murky atmosphere of slowly molten rubber, as the lazily morphing samples drip and burn through the foundation of each track.

R.I.P is clearly a listening album. One in which you can lose yourself completely, among the psychedelic passageways and semi-liquid builds. The fabric of the structure breathes and sighs, gasping at the organic matter surrounding its boundaries. The induced experience has a potent opiate feel, as your mind struggles to stay focused on the imagined and reality. Inspired by John Milton`s epic 17th century poem, `Paradise Lost', concerning the story of the Fall of Man (you know, the one with Adam and Eve, the fallen angel Satan, and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden), Actress explores themes of life, death, and religion. These pseudo-concepts are probed through track titles like "Holy Water", "Serpent", "Tree of Knowledge", "Caves Of Paradise" and "The Lord's Graffiti".
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Format: Audio CD
London based artist Actress doesn't make techno, IDM or house, instead he makes an electronic hybrid of all the aformentioned whilst throwing in a little Music concrete on top just to sweeten the honeypot. Tim Heckers ambient drone is a good reference point for the way the music on R.I.P.(Darren Cunningham's) third album sounds albeit with a litle more mischieve and tad less devastation. The synthesizers squirt and spit throughout the entirity of this, abstract sounds seem to emerge unexpectedly only to dissolve or disentegrate once they've racketed up the necessary tension in the music.

The tools he uses to achieve this effect are as expansive as his imagination, i've tried to pick out particular instruments whilst i've been listening and so far i've got synths, harps, possibly keyboards and something resembling the chirping of a cricket. the cumulative effect is unnerving without becoming completely sinsiter, i guess you could say it's psychedelic with a fair few come downs. After checking out Actress's sophomore record Splazsh when it was released two years ago, it became clear to me that he might be an artist to watch out for and he's certainly built upon the already impressve ideas that were on display with that album. The unifromity of R.I.P. might initially feel like a paring down of the music on Splazsh however the reduction in scope actually results in a illumination of force with these sharply penetrative soundcapes enveloping your mind with repeated exsposure.

Considering how good this is i'm a little suprised to find myself being the first person to do a review here, especially considering it was released almost two months ago! Having said that the music is far from readily accesible.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I sat on this review for quite some time and given how long ago this album was released, quite some time. I think I did so for good reason. I am convinced many who listen to this album will, if they have heard it, unfairly compare it to Splazsh, Actress' second album. I have wondered if Darren Cunningham, better known as the artist in question, would ever be capable of removing himself from his former release. And not by his choosing, as i'm sure he would love to move on. Yet every so often a musician will create an artistic masterclass, so rich in nobility that their followers condemn them to be anchored to that art piece for all time. I am tempted to reference, say, what Vocalcity was to Luomo, or Bjork's 'Vespertine'. And even upon first listen of this album to my shame I too fell into that trap. Yet this album is more than capable of standing on its own two feet and demand of its audience their complete allegiance. And in this case, I am happy to say, indeed you should.

It starts out with somewhat grainy and lightly haunted melody, as if to preface the listeners entrance into an evil nightclub. Instead of granting music for such a location upon arrival, the next track (Ascending) soothes with a positively danceable track directing the listener to higher realities. The aptly named 'Holy Water' somehow manages to evoke feelings of being sprinkled with a water that is holy, and the album continues on beautifully ushering through some kind of strange danceworld. Their is very little to dislike about this album, and Actress even amongst the best showcases himself again as a real original, innovative in all the right ways. I believe the mark of a good artist is the ability to move beyond past releases and yet retain his own artistic integrity without compromise. Actress shines.
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