Eoin Hennessy | Music Editor
Almost two years have passed since Darren Cunningham graced us with the beautifully enigmatic R.I.P.. Since then, the Wolverhampton beat maestro has been working on what many believe will be his last album under the Actress pseudonym. Cunningham provided a statement with his new album, Ghettoville, claiming that it “is the bleached out and black tinted conclusion of the Actress image”. The album is also the unofficial sequel to Actress’s 2008 debut masterpiece, Hazyville.
the bleached out and black tinted conclusion of the Actress image
For the follow up to Hazyville, Actress has returned to his Werkdisc roots, however, this time in partnership with London based label Ninja Tune. The result is a murky sixteen track LP full of distortion, hypnotic bass lines and faint bleeps. Ghettoville begins with the seven minute long “Forgiven”. Its sparse and sinister beat is barely audible, serving as the perfect transition between Hazyville and Ghettoville. The next track, “Street Corp”, seems more like the apocalyptic beginning of Ghettoville. Although it contains the normal bleeps associated with the work of Actress, the sounds are more industrial than ever.
The result is a murky sixteen track LP full of distortion, hypnotic bass lines and faint bleeps
Cunningham’s production becomes clear and even slightly more weird than usual. In an interview with The Beat Juice, Cunningham said that the album could be interpreted as “diseased” and that the imagery intended for the album was in some way based upon “mutants”. Tracks like “Corner”, “Time” and “Towers” definitely represent the freakish picture Cunningham was striving for.
the album could be interpreted as “diseased” and that the imagery intended for the album was in some way based upon “mutants”
Cunningham has obviously tried to achieve something different with Ghettoville. A lot of the tracks on the album are quite upbeat, somewhat reminding us of Actress’s 2010 album Splazsh. However, instead of the more dancefloor-oriented sound of Splazsh, we get a deformed hybrid combining the cloudy sound of Hazyville with futuristic 4×4 beats.
a deformed hybrid
The fourth track “Rims” could be Actress’s mutated take on the music of Flying Lotus, while “Image” sounds like 80’s funk group, Cameo, on acid. Strange echoes like this crop up all over Ghettoville, yet it somehow sounds unbelievably original. The track “Skyline” could even be heard as some sort of freak child created by Daft Punk’s “Around the World” and Joy Orbison.
Strange echoes like this crop up all over Ghettoville, yet it somehow sounds unbelievably original
Ghettoville ends on “Rule”, a three minute-long track of twisted hip-hop, yet again showing off Cunningham’s diversity. A strange send-off to the final Actress outing. However, maybe that’s the point. Darren Cunningham has created yet another amazing record and even if it is the last album he’ll produce as Actress, we should be thankful that he granted us with four long players that can be enjoyed for decades.