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New Music: Andy Stott, Butterflies

Andy Stott, “Butterflies” (3/30/16, Modern Love)

Like fellow traveller Burial, much of Andy Stott’s earlier work is characterized by a palpable sense of decay and loss – paranoiac dub echoes, muted sounds, imploding beats, signs of brightness struggling to be heard from under dense layers.  Both artists, since, have taken their music out from behind these gauzy curtains, allowing more and more light to penetrate.  For Stott, this process began with 2014’s wonderful Faith In Strangers (check out our write up, here) and continues apace with his latest single, “Butterflies”.

Taken from forthcoming new album, Too Many Voices, “Butterflies” features bent, glassy synths over an insistent, almost playful beat – the whipsnap snare even threatens to go “full banger”, but holds its fire; breathy, hushed vocals in the Sampha mode more prominent in the mix.  Sounds a bit closer to the kind of outré r&b offerings of artists like Jessy Lanza, and sounds positively, er, luxurious compared to tracks from Stott’s 2012 opus, Luxury Problems…and it’s fantastic.  Another notch in the belt, then, for M. Stott; bring on the new album.

Upcoming tour dates:

April 13, @Patterns, Brighton, UK
April 15, @Church of St. John-at-Hackney, London, UK
April 29, @Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA, US
April 30-May 1, @Further Future Festival, Las Vegas, NV, US
May 7, @Pappy & Harriet’s, Pioneerstown, CA, US
May 8, @Music Box, San Diego, CA, US
June 11, @Funkhaus, Berlin, GER
July 15, @Ferropolis, Leipzig, GER
August 27, @FYFest, Los Angeles, CA

Too Many Voices is released April 22, on Modern Love.

Track(s) Review(s): Andy Stott, Violence and Faith In Strangers

Andy Stott: Violence, Faith in Strangers (Modern Love, 2014)

Andy Stott’s previous work – including 2012’s full length, Luxury Problems and 2011’s EPs Passed Me By and We Stay Together – was often cloaked in shadows.  Murky textures and dark, angular visions shrouded in a fog of dense bass rhythms; human vocals and other sounds fighting to be heard from beneath the ice of a frozen lake.

The two new tracks teased thus far from Stott’s upcoming follow-up, Faith In Strangers — “Violence” and the title track – allow a glimmer of light to penetrate the mists.  Each includes vocals courtesy of Luxury cohort Alison Skidmore.

In “Violence”, Skidmore’s mumbled vocals are out front in the mix and distinguishable from the enveloping drunken haze – shot through with repeated satellite bursts of melody.  When the beat stomps in – initially with about 1:00 left – the song opens wide and shows it’s jaws, sounding like an industrial, more antagonistic Portishead.

‘Faith in Strangers’ shocks, initially, with a slinky bass line, a snappy snare/hi hat tone and higher octave organ chords – somewhere between Aphex Twin and Liquid Liquid.  The melody is infectious, swooning – rather than mining beauty from miasma, this one wears its loveliness on its sleeve.  Skidmore’s reverbed vocals wind in and out, with a youthful quality somewhat reminiscent of late 80s indie or shoegaze.

Both are brilliant, and make Faith in Strangers (due November 17/18, depending on your location) on Modern Love Records, very highly anticipated.

“Violence” is available for download now, through iTunes.