Andy Stott – Luxury Problems Andy Stott – Luxury Problems

Don’t be fooled by the electronic genre tag, Andy Stott makes music that is heavy. Having been recording and releasing music under his own name and the Andrea alias for nearly a decade, the Mancunian producer finally seemed to find his voice in 2011 on the brilliant Passed Me By and We Stay Together EPs – two ‘mini albums’ released within six months of each other that offered an up to date but raw distillation of his sound; dark, brooding and at times downright sinister dub infused techno. If those EPs seemed like a somewhat incomplete glimpse into planet Andy Stott, then Luxury Problems is surely a complete and brilliant realisation of what Stott is capable of. The material here is dense and at times threatens to prove overwhelming, but Luxury Problems is an album that rewards time invested.

That said, Luxury Problems almost certainly represents Stott at his most accessible thanks, in no small part, to the ethereal vocals of operatically trained Alison Skidmore (Stott’s piano teacher when he was a student). The handful of tracks where Skidmore’s vocals sit alongside Stott’s sub-bass slumps – as on the transcendent ‘Numb’- represent a crack of light for an artist that has previously relied exclusively on foreboding drones and bass-heavy kicks. Not that Stott is in any way flirting with radio-friendly fare here. Opener ‘Numb’ revolves around an asphyxiating bass thump, whilst Skidmore’s vocals are chopped alongside a Middle-Eastern bass churn on ‘Lost and Found’. Yet the best example of how Stott’s music has taken on new textures is probably album highlight ‘Hatch The Plan,’ an eight and a half minute bass-rollicking that puts Skidmore in the role of a conventional vocalist; albeit inbetween segments of ambient drone and sub-bass club beats. That Stott’s music is able to switch from sub-genre to sub-genre throughout Luxury Problems speaks volumes of both his ability and confidence, and it also gives the album a more natural feel as tracks bleed into one another and sounds overlap.

In a lot of ways Luxury Problems is the sort of album that many artists strive to create – one where they stay true to their sound and manage to introduce some sort of dynamic to improve on what’s already been done (in this case, Skidmore). It helps that, as well as the seamless introduction of vocals, Stott has delivered us another masterclass in immersive techno. This is heavy indeed.

Luxury Problems Tracklist:

01. Numb
02. Lost and Found
03. Sleepless
04. Hatch the plan
05. Expecting
06. Luxury problems
07. Up the box
08. Leaving

Andy Stott - Luxury Problems, reviewed by Lemon on 2012-11-23T15:52:55-08:00 rating 4.1 out of 5

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