Something’s Going On: Andy Stott
Legendary Manchester-based producer Andy Stott (Modern Love) comes to the Triskel, Cork this December. Stott’s current lp ‘Luxury Problems’ is not only one of the best electronic albums of the year but one of the best albums of the year outright. ‘Luxury Problems’ is the highlight of Stott’s career to date. The album has everything to please every music-loving listener – from the techno kids to the indie kids – and all points in between. Andy Stott performs at the Triskel, Cork on December 29th. Doors 9pm.
Words, Illustration: Craig Carry
Last year saw Andy Stott release a pair of Eps, ‘Passed Me By’ and ‘We Stay Together’ (both issued on the wonderful Modern Love label). Both Eps caused quite a stir on release and the wonders of word-of-mouth amongst the independent music community meant Stott’s ‘Luxury Problems’ full length album follow-up was much-anticipated. The album has been hailed as one of the albums of the year by many and has rightly seen Stott’s stock rise considerably this year.
‘Luxury Problems’ is a wonderful example of an album which crosses over multiple music genres (and thus finds a place amongst many music fans’ collections): techno, club, dance, electronic, indie…everyone’s raving about it. Growing up in Manchester, Stott worked as a car repainter while honing his craft as a musician and producer in his own time. This patience can be discerned immediately on listening to ‘Luxury Problems’. Every texture, detail and nuance has its place. Nothing extraneous is left in the final cut. The meticulous production and multiple layering of sounds creates a stunningly evocative atmosphere. It’s the kind of music David Lynch would pick for ‘Twin Peaks’ in the 21st century. Stott’s music commands repeat listening. Not simply due to the beauty and mystery of his musical palette, but due to the many intricate sounds and textures present in his recordings. What’s immediately apparent on first listen is the presence of vocals (a first for Stott) on the album. The vocals in question are supplied by Stott’s former piano teacher, Alison Skidmore. The merging of Skidmore’s ethereal vocals with Stott’s mesmeric sonic textures is truly breath-taking. On tracks such as ‘Numb’ and album-closer (and personal highlight) ‘Leaving’ Skidmore’s vocals are layered over Stott’s textures to stunning effect.
The album cover (as always for Stott) is stunning. This time around the artwork that graces the sleeve is in the form of a black-and-white photograph (courtesy the Dr. Otto Bettmann archive from Corbis Images). It’s subject is a female diver. The grainy black-and-white print encompasses the entire tonal range beautifully made possible with black-and-white photography. The lighting renders every detail and texture (the figure’s hair, skin and bathing suit). She is frozen in time at just the right moment: an image of intense focus, scrutiny and determination as she plunges into the depths below.
The image suits Stott and ‘Luxury Problems’ perfectly. Dive into Stott’s ‘Luxury Problems’ and you will soon discover one of the truly outstanding albums of 2012.
‘Luxury Problems’ is available now on Modern Love.
Andy Stott performs at the Triskel Arts Centre (TDC space, downstairs) on December 29th, doors 9pm. Tickets available from the Triskel and Plugd Records.