eMusic Review 0
Actress is Darren Cunningham, head of London's Werk Discs label — home to leftfield hip-hop, house and dubstep variants from Zomby, Lukid and Actress himself. On his second album, though, he jumps to the Honest Jon's label, which is better known for archival soul and world music. It seems like a strange fit: Other electronic musicians on the label tend to have at least a tenuous connection to the label's core aesthetic: T++ in his sampling of vintage African recordings, the Moritz von Oswald Trio in their twin debts to dub and improv. But Actress's album sounds like it comes from a universe all its own, one where the inhabitants learned about earthling dance music with the intergalactic equivalent of tin cans and string.
Despite Actress's lo-fi techniques, Splaszh is often more muscular than his debut. "Lost," despite its ethereal vocals and disintegrating synthesizer tones, moves powerfully forward, propelled by generous bass and cutting hi-hats; the hot-house groove of "Always Human" would hold its own in a DJ set stuffed with more obvious crowdpleasers. "Wrong Potion," the closest thing to one of Zomby's headstrong, wrong-footed dubstep tunes, barrels through a jumble of conflicting rhythms by virtue of its bassy… read more »