28 September 2018
Concert Hall ROG
Actress aka Darren Cunningham is building a robot. He collects second-hand black and silver vintage audio gear for parts and he feeds it data and programming to create music. AZD is his praised 2017 LP at Ninja Tune, an anagram of his childhood nickname and the name of the robot. For his live shows, the robot is his chrome mannequin front-man behind a synth, dressed-up like Cunningham, who controls the show from the background.
For Actress, and here the chosen alias is not a coincidence, it's always a play of roles and personas that form relationships between the actual person, robots, other aliases and music or rather its palette, to convey a growing conceptual world of the artist. The result is a sound that is continually elusive and immediately recognisable - an outsider sound that articulates its surroundings through the personal building of the narratives which originate from Detroit raves, graffiti and even Gabriel Fauré and are set to explore Metropolis-like (afro)futuristic sentiments and meditations on technology, class and the Other.
His latest album LAGEOS (2018), also released by Ninja Tune, is a genre-breaking collaboration between him and the London Contemporary Orchestra, which started with a unique commissioned performance for Boiler Room at the Barbican.
Actress has, in the last 5 years of running the Werkdiscs label, set himself apart as one of the hottest A&R scouts within his field, having discovered and released some of the most widely talked about artists of the emerging bass generation, namely Disrupt, Zomby, Lukid and Starkey. He has recently established a new label called Werk__Ltd.
He has starred in a unique cinematic portrait filmed by Pierre Debusschere as well as performing stunning live shows at Sonar Tokyo and Barcelona, Berghain, the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern (collaborating with visual artists Yayoi Kusama and Agnes Martin), Fabric London and DJ’d alongside the likes of Atoms for Peace, Juan Atkins, UR, Modeselektor, Radioactive Man, Dabrye, Kode9 and Flying Lotus. DJ sets are variable depending on the night and mood, but generally programmed to suit afro-futuristic sounds of all persuasions.