AZD (pronounced “azid”) is the name given to Actress’ fifth album and gear “robot”, the collection of vintage machines that gave this record its defining sound. Noise and haze, as with Actress’ previous records, have a significant role in AZD, yet it’s still a major departure from his grainier presses. The record passes through each module of the AZD “robot”, with layer upon layer of synth, noise, and dance floor groove.


The bloops of “NIMBUS” and building synths and rhythms of “UNTITLED 7” push slowly into Actress’ dark mechanical fantasies of “FANTASYNTH” and “BLUE WINDOW”. Sampling the late Rammellzee, “CYN” brings more of Actress’ abstract breakbeat stylings before leaping head first into the first single and climax of the album, “X22RME”, with its glowing synths and dirty kicks.


The tranquil and beautiful “FALLING RIZLAS”, with moody synths and keys, brings the AZD machine to a crawl ahead of “DANCING IN THE SMOKE” and its noisy, abstract synths, leading into “FAURE IN CHROME”, a noisy synthetic rearrangement of Gabriel Fautré.


The final track “VISA”, and likewise “RUNNER”, were curiously released by Ninja Tune ahead of the album as cassette singles from “unknown” artists That Knightsbridge OG and Dial 666 8100, respectively. They stand great on their own, “RUNNER” having a solid synth-groove with that lo-fi house feel that dance floors crave these days, while “VISA” being a more blissed-out synthgasm, and fitting finale.


Actress’ most tech-heavy record to date, AZD brings a different energy to his discography of typically intense, bass-heavy productions.

Actress’ AZD, released on Ninja Tune, is now available.

By: Mitchell Bundy

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