The enigmatic producer unleashed a beatless fog into the black-box basement.
The queue snaked down Curtain Road well before midnight on Friday as a quietly excited, faintly nerdish crowd filed in for the official launch of ‘R.I.P’., one of the year’s most anticipated new albums and the third from British producer Darren Cunningham.
Hamburg DJ Helena Hauff and the Huntleys & Palmers-affiliated Londoner SOPHIE provided two brilliantly divergent introductory sets, the former giving us a selection of weirdly leftfield house and the latter bringing some maximalist indulgence to the floor. Polar opposites to each other and to Actress, who hand-picked them both as supports.
After the exuberance of SOPHIE’s set, littered with garish blasts of maximalist pressue, to be immersed in the regal decay and often beatless fog of Actress was challenging, to say the least. No doubt Cunningham had been deliberately provocative in his programming, testing us for our commitment to his “infinite” music, as he recently described it. If so, he underestimated his audience, swaying noncommittally but listening intently to a music that seems to point the way to some as-yet-unimaginable electronic future.