An Elegant Voice and Avant-Garde Processing Mix on Andy Stott’s ‘Luxury Problems’

Andy Stott photo courtesy of Modern Love.

Every week or thereabouts, Mutant Dance Moves takes you to the shadowy corners of the dancefloor and the fringes of contemporary electronic music, where new strains and dance moves are evolving.

In 2005, the Manchester label Modern Love released in quick succession two 12-inches and an EP from a Mancunian up-and-comer, Andy Stott. Across these sides, he revealed a sui generis grasp on Detroit’s deepest, caustic acid tracks, the harder edge of neighbors Claro Intellecto, while also displaying a knack for space and subtlety (check the strings that arise near the end of “Come Together”). Across full-lengths like 2006’s Merciless and a prodigious run of singles and EPs, Stott delved ever deeper into the echo chambers of minimal techno.

But in May of last year, Stott dropped a double 12” called Passed Me By. Housed in an arresting black and white picture sleeve with a portrait of an unidentified African tribesman — his gaze a harrowing mix of violence and void, with six gnarly scarred gashes across his cheeks — it presaged the darkness of the tracks within. Sounding like it was rendered in an abandoned factory in Chernobyl, the sound of decay and desiccation clung to every vocal snippet, bass throb, and drum hit. And when he followed it up but a few months on with the even more menacing 2×12,” We Stay Together (this one also featuring a haunting image), it confirmed that Stott’s tracks — now heavily narcotized and slurred — conjured that peculiar nightmare state wherein your body becomes physically unable to outrun the approaching danger. The noise and body-hammering low frequencies now had more in common with the extreme noise rendered by the likes of Sunn O))) and Merzbow than with other contemporary dub techno and dubstep producers. Which is to say, Andy Stott’s productions were unlike anything else happening in electronic music.

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