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.