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Andy Stott ‘Faith In Strangers’ – Album Review

Modern Love (2014)

Nine months after dropping his long-awaited collaborative effort with Miles Whittaker, Manchester dub techno producer Andy Stott returns to the solo fold with another doom-laden affair you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley, Faith In Strangers.

Its nine epic soundscapes may largely abandon the brutal bass/beats approach that defined Millie & Andrea’s Drop The Vowels earlier this year, but packed with eerie ghostly melodies, foreboding synth drones and fractured nervy beats, it’s no less unsettling.

The follow-up to 2012’s Luxury Problems still contains a handful of assaults on the senses, such as the heavily compressed jungle throwback “No Surrender,” the dystopian techno of “How It Was,” and the aptly-titled electroclash of “Damage.” But Faith In Strangers is just as intense when the 34-years old slows proceedings down to a crawl.

In fact, if David Lynch is looking for a new composer for his Twin Peaks revival, the gauzy chillwave of the penultimate title track, and the atmospheric Julee Cruise-esque closer “Missing,” should place Andy Stott as a leading contender. Likewise, opener “Time Away,” perfectly sets the haunting tone ahead with six minutes of spooky ambience, courtesy of euphonium player Kim Holly Thorpe.

Elsewhere, “Violence,” one of several tracks to feature the ethereal whispered vocals of Stott’s former piano teacher, is a hypnotic blend of grinding industrial synths and trap-hop beats. “Science and Industry,” the only track that could be described as relatively conventional, swings between the pioneering post-punk of the Factory label and the demo setting of a Casio keyboard.

As with Stott’s previous releases, Faith In Strangers certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. But there’s a beauty to its bleakness which confirms Andy Stott’s status as one of the most distinctive techno producers around.

 

3.5 / 5 stars     

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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music


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