Actress 11 new
  • Centre for Digital Media: "Hangar" Friday, September 14th 12 AM - 1 AM

By day, Actress is Darren J. Cunningham. He’s the founder of Werk Discs, the influential label that released Zomby before they signed to 4AD, Starkey before signing to Planet Mu, and gave the talented Lukid a home. By night, Cunningham becomes Actress, noted as being “an artist so underground that even his own friends doubt his existence” (Dazed & Confused).

In the studio, Actress employs something of an improvisatory process, working samples until they’re blurred like paint splatters and saturated watercolors. He has said, “I don’t have pre-ideas, I have ideas after I’ve done the track. These pictures start to emerge.” As such, his distinct brand of murky, minimal techno defies easy genre classification, a merging of lo-fi production and advanced signal processing. Like a chameleon, Actress DJ sets are variable depending on the night and mood, but generally programmed to suit afro-futuristic sounds of all persuasions.

His 2012 album R.I.P, released on Damon Albarn’s independent label Honest Jon’s Records, is essentially a concept album about death. Death is the one true certainty in the life of all beings. His use of digital distortion as an integral part of his music is, in part, an acknowledgement of the aging process, the erosion of physical media by the environment, that vinyl, tapes, CDs, and the human body break down over time. Though he produces in a digital format, he’s aware that his sound will invariably degrade, and so he degrades it himself in advance, giving it an air of timelessness despite its overall forward-looking form.

“One of the UK’s most fascinating musical figures”
Fact Magazine

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