Actress Centre for Digital Media, Vancouver, BC, September 14
Published Sep 17, 2012Known to his mother as Darren Cunningham, Actress is a young man, and his set tonight showed he still has a little growing up to do. Cunningham started out slow, with the first quarter of his set amounting to clicks and static hum, but eventually the waves of filtered white noise rolled into a pounding 4/4 beat, which stayed hard and heavy on the low end for the duration. While his presentation may be rough around the edges, there is a freshness to his sound, a spark of character usually washed away by those following more quantized populist trends. The grainy atmospheres surrounding his works are always slightly off-kilter and off-beat, slices of degraded, transient audio seemingly salvaged from the cutting room floor. Yet, for how unnatural his sound is, Cunningham brings it together in an oddly sensible fashion. The clutter forms its own sort of logic in his hands, especially when you see him assemble and transition in a live setting, rather than on record with the benefit of fade-outs. He doesn't quite have the chops to be a main-stage headliner type yet, but he offers a perspective that fans of electronic music should take seriously.