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30.10.2012, Words by dummymag

Andy Stott - Luxury Problems [album stream]

The Salford-reared producer makes his new, vocal-inclusive LP available to listen to on NPR.

In an attempt to stray (slightly) away from the darker world which was explored on last year’s EPs Passed Me By and We Stay Together, producer Andy Stott has now decided to implement the use of vocals on his first proper album in six years, ‘Luxury Problems’. Used so as to create an interesting sense of opposition in his music this time around, the female vocals which appear throughout the record are actually courtesy of Stott’s former piano teacher, Alison Skidmore. The utilisation of her voice on the album enables Stott to move in a largely different direction, and temporarily quell a lot of the cavernous feeling which was, and still is present in his work.

Skidmore’s vocals evoke pure bliss when they appear, in contrast to the intense, haunting bass which throbs relentlessly on many of the album’s tracks. On a song such as Hatch the Plan, for example, the distorted rhythm seems to loom over low, haunted ground, whereas Skidmore’s vocals seem to do entirely the opposite: by portraying some sort of ascension into the light, the song can simultaneously sound beautiful and harrowing as a result, making for an even more interesting clashing of musical elements in Stott’s music. Sleepless, on the other hand, showcases Stott’s ability to create a dub-inflected, house-y groove that still contains the very hollow essence of his previous music, and it lends ‘Luxury Problems’ its most out-and-out dance groove by a clear mile.

Bringing the album to a close is one of the LP’s highlights Leaving, a track which points towards the real benefits that Stott has reaped in his music with the inclusion of such angelic vocals. Letting Skidmore’s voice reverberate throughout, Stott is able to build up a minimalistic, rotating rhythm, and by having the radiant voice there to bounce off of, Stott has enough space to craft a truly fine ambient sound that allows ‘Luxury Problems’ to be brought to a harmonious conclusion. After trudging through much of the darkness which has been prevalent on his most recent music, ‘Luxury Problems’ takes influence from other components to finally emerge out of its dank depths into something truly magnificent.

You can make up your own mind on ‘Luxury Problems’ before it’s released, by checking out its exclusive NPR.

‘Luxury Problems’ is released today on Modern Love records.

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