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Techno as Drone (MP3)

A glamorously mundane beat from Actress

News has come out that the great Ninja Tune label has forged an association with the label Werk Discs, which is run by Darren Cunningham (aka Actress), who cofounded the label with Gavin Weale. To commemorate the deal, the labels have posted a free Actress track, the well-titled techno of “Metamorphosis,” which is available at ninjatune.net/werkdiscs (it’s free to the extent that you must submit your email address to receive a link to a Zip file of the MP3). The track is a deeply steady beat that slowly transforms — hence the title — as its six and a half minutes proceed. Much dance-floor material keeps its 4/4 steady as she goes, but there’s something rich to Actress’ approach to the time-honored time-keeping tradition, something about how individual elements, like hazy noises and vocal snippets, introduce themselves and skew the metrics. The result is suitably glamorous, in a fashion that both undermines and reinforces its dark techno impulses. There’s something about its routine that brings to mind drone music, the way it forges a kind of subtle change by falsely suggesting permanence. I can’t stream the track here, but head over to the above URL to snag a copy, and look forward to what Werk Discs accomplishes now that it has Ninja Tune’s support.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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