8 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While many electronic music listeners in the U.K. were enthralled by dubstep and grime in the late ‘00s, that era also saw the rise of darker, less accessible sounds from a group of defiantly hermetic producers on small labels like Modern Love and Blackest Ever Black. These producers took the metronomic throb and dark minimalism of deep house pioneers like Frankie Knuckles and Virgo 4 as creative touchstones, deliberately eschewing dubstep's then-fashionable jungle-derived break beats. Manchester-based producer Andy Stott is among the most formidable and creative practitioners of this deeply introverted brand of U.K. techno. His 2011 release Passed Me By set the basic template: trudging tempos, cavernous dub-like ambiance, and house-derived beats, all enlisted in the service of creating an atmosphere of unremitting dread. On 2012’s Luxury Problems, Stott put another layer atop this already-compelling sound, inviting Alison Skidmore to add her spectral, unearthly vocals to his sparse, unnerving instrumentals. The result is positively mesmerizing, a haunting late-night listen that stands as one of Stott’s strongest albums.

EDITORS’ NOTES

While many electronic music listeners in the U.K. were enthralled by dubstep and grime in the late ‘00s, that era also saw the rise of darker, less accessible sounds from a group of defiantly hermetic producers on small labels like Modern Love and Blackest Ever Black. These producers took the metronomic throb and dark minimalism of deep house pioneers like Frankie Knuckles and Virgo 4 as creative touchstones, deliberately eschewing dubstep's then-fashionable jungle-derived break beats. Manchester-based producer Andy Stott is among the most formidable and creative practitioners of this deeply introverted brand of U.K. techno. His 2011 release Passed Me By set the basic template: trudging tempos, cavernous dub-like ambiance, and house-derived beats, all enlisted in the service of creating an atmosphere of unremitting dread. On 2012’s Luxury Problems, Stott put another layer atop this already-compelling sound, inviting Alison Skidmore to add her spectral, unearthly vocals to his sparse, unnerving instrumentals. The result is positively mesmerizing, a haunting late-night listen that stands as one of Stott’s strongest albums.

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About Andy Stott

During the latter part of the 2000s, Manchester-based DJ/producer Andy Stott evolved from making high-quality dub techno to releasing a singular and more adventurous strain with an approach that favored leaden tempos and unsettling, sample-based textures. Beginning in 2005, Stott recorded exclusively for his hometown's Modern Love label, where he quickly became a key member of the roster alongside fellow travelers Claro Intelecto and Demdike Stare. He released numerous singles and EPs, along with a taut 2006 album (Merciless) and a 2008 compilation (Unknown Exception). The producer made a significant creative advance in 2011 with a pair of creep-outs, Passed Me By and We Stay Together, that were combined and expanded for CD release by the end of the year. In 2012, he released his third proper album, Luxury Problems, which incorporated vocals from Alison Skidmore, his former piano teacher. Skidmore was present once more on Faith in Strangers, a 2014 album that featured some of Stott's least and most abrasive material. For 2016's Too Many Voices, which tempered abrasive drums with glassy keyboard melodies, Stott cited grime mixtapes and David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto's 1982 avant-pop 12" collaboration as inspirations. Additionally, Stott has produced some exceptional breakbeat-oriented dubstep and drum'n'bass as Andrea; beside Demdike Stare's Miles Whittaker, he has recorded as Millie & Andrea. Those two, along with Gary Howell, also produced drum'n'bass as Hate. As a remix producer Stott's most noteworthy commissions include Vladislav Delay's "Recovery Idea," Blondes' "Pleasure," Tricky's "Valentine," and Martin Gore's "Europa Hymn." ~ Andy Kellman

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