dB Festival 2013: Resident Advisor Showcase Feat Actress


Actress isn’t your regular techno producer, if you can call him that at all. The founder of Werk Discs has flitted between electro, hip-hop, house and techno over the past eight years, finding something close to a home in the smoke-filled recesses of some lost Underground Resistance bunker. He’s an artist whose restless, unforgivingly manipulated music is just as suited to soundtracking installations as it is bellowing out into a nightclub. Part of the reason is Darren Cunningham’s deceptive sense of atmospherics: though his tracks are often submerged, distorted and heavily filtered, there’s an obsessive level of detail that seems to lead to dimensions of nuance unexpected from such a seemingly lo-fi surface. It’s the reason why 2010′s Splazshwas one of that year’s most addicting, fascinating albums, yet also one of its most monochrome and uniform. He’s a defiantly individualistic voice in a referential musical climate, and even his most obvious influences are twisted into nearly unrecognizable binary code wreckage.

Whereas previous albums Splazsh and Hazyville were primarily oriented around beat-driven tracks that you might classify as techno or electro, R.I.P. looks deeply inward into a withdrawn universe, inhabiting some imagined catacombs between the rhythms of established genres. It’s a pseudo-concept album about “gardens, serpents and mythological caves,” and it has the careful sequencing of one too. Actress records have always been a bit of a journey, but it’s never felt as literal as on R.I.P., which stumbles and fumbles through the dark, finding occasional pockets of light and life.

The record is ordered with remarkable care, starting off slow with the more ambient title track and “Ascending” before coalescing into something recognizably alive with “Marble Plexus.” Burying a synth beneath blasts of fuzz-bass and shimmering hall-of-mirrors lightworks, its melody seems to squirm and convulse almost at random. “Plexus” makes for a reflection of the organic composition process of R.I.P, one that forewent software synthesizers and plugins in favour of a more hands-on approach. It’s a tactile process that results in an album that feels like it’s being improvised live, separate even from previous Actress work which could still feel quantized despite its short-circuiting wires and digitized shrieks.

The album’s midsection drops out into its most challenging run of tracks. “Jardin” is an exploratory crawl through a completely foreign sound library. Drums sputter and splatter in attempt to map out some kind of pattern before falling back into the wet earth beneath with a plod. Things pick up slightly with “Serpent” and “Shadow From Tartarus,” the latter like the mouldy remnants of electro emerging from the unseen depths.

In a world in which upstart DiY talent is flooding the gates of electronic music, a few recent voices have been so strong as to be startling. Lapalux – AKA 25-year-old Stuart Howard – is certainly one such. As singular as a brilliant artist always should be, his instinctive understanding of the atmospheric power of texture grips the ear immediately on listening.

Lapalux was raised in rural Essex, midway between countryside and town; the classic, isolated hinterland that's produced many a distinctive British voice. There's a yearning sense to the record that it's tempting to relate to the young Howard's dreams about what his eventual escape into larger life might be. He certainly had a dream start when a shot-in-the-dark email to electronic hothouse Brainfeeder was immediately answered by label head Flying Lotus himself, who quickly moved on to sign him. To this day, Lapalux remains the only British artist on the Los Angeles based label.

Having made fans out of Diplo and SBTRKT, remixed everyone from Lianne La Havas via Crystal Fighters to Bonobo, Tawiah, AlunaGeorge and Speech Debelle, as well as supporting FlyLo and playing the main stage at Sonar and in Japan with Clark, it's prime time for Lapalux's debut full length on BRAINFEEDER.

Natasha Kmeto

Natasha Kmeto is a Portland-based singer and electronic producer who turns heads everywhere she goes. Armed with a taut dance floor sensibility and flutteringly sensuous voice, she exudes the kind of beauty that can only come from confidence. Her tracks are sleek and energetic affairs, straddling the line between dance, pop, and RnB, percussively intriguing compositions that slide easily into the ear but aren’t so easily forgotten. Her beauty, energy, and talent coalesce into a truly visceral live show, moving both to the partygoer and the thinking person alike. Wherever her music goes, heavy breathing will follow.

Born into a musical family in California, Natasha began to develop her talents as an artist from a young age. It wasn’t until almost two decades later, on the verge of becoming a career session musician, that she grabbed the wheel and broke out in a direction that truly inspired her. Her arrival in Portland marked a big step towards new things. The past several years as seen her growth quicken, especially after signing with hometown label Dropping Gems. The string of releases that have followed showcase Natasha in her most self-realized form, in matters of love, independence, and outlook on life.

Natasha has a long list of notable live performances under her belt, including gigs at Coachella, Bumbershoot, MusicFestNW, Symbiosis, SXSW, Low End Theory (LA and SF) and Decibel Festival. She has shared the stage with a number of talented artists as well, including Squarepusher, Emancipator, Kid Cudi, Plaid, Gold Panda, Dam Funk, Shlohmo, Shigeto, and Morcheeba, just to name a few. Her radio experience includes live performances on Boiler Room and KEXP, and her tracks have been played by numerous noteworthy DJs including Mary Anne Hobbes. Natasha released her LP 'Crisis' on June 18th, 2013 on Dropping Gems to much fanfare.

Ghost Feet

Ghost Feet exists on Earth as an electronic duo based in Olympia, Washington. The duo (Hobbess and Qloq) deftly assemble tracks using an array of guitars, drum pads, synthesizers, and field recordings. The finished pieces must then be bathed in pure moonlight. While their formation preceded the death of Howard Zinn, the majority of their material narrates a decidedly post-Zinn cultural landscape. (A graveyard driven to funk. Undead cicada drum circles.) Ghost Feet really glow during live performance, standing knee-deep in masses of wires and instruments, with as many elements as possible played live on stage, producing high-energy electric currents that plug directly into the audience. The result is a shimmering hypnosis.

$20.00 - $25.00


For more information on Resident Advisor and the 10th Annual Decibel International Festival of Electronic Music Performance, Visual Art and New Media, please visit http://residentadvisor.net http://dbfestival.com/dbx http://facebok.com/decibelfestival http://twitter.com/dbfestival

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