Double LP version. Faith in Strangers was written and recorded between January 2013 and June 2014, and was edited and sequenced in late July of 2014. Making use of on an array of instruments, field recordings, found sounds and vocal treatments, it's a largely analog variant of hi-tech production styles arcing from the dissonant to the sublime. The first two tracks recorded during these early sessions bookend the release, the opener "Time Away" featuring euphonium played by Kim Holly Thorpe and last track "Missing," a contribution by Stott's occasional vocal collaborator Alison Skidmore, who also appeared on 2012's Luxury Problems. Between these two points Faith in Strangers heads off from the sparse and infected "Violence" to the broken, downcast pop of "On Oath" and the motorik, driving melancholy of "Science & Industry" - three vocal tracks built around that angular production style that imbues proceedings with both a pioneering spirit and a resonating sense of familiarity. Things take a sharp turn with "No Surrender"- a sparkling analog jam making way for a tough, smudged rhythmic assault, while "How It Was" refracts sweaty warehouse signatures and "Damage" finds the sweet spot between RZA's classic "Ghost Dog" and Terror Danjah at his most brutal. "Faith in Strangers" is next and offers perhaps the most beautiful and open track here, its vocal hook and chiming melody bound to the rest of the album via the almost inaudible hum of Stott's mixing desk It provides a haze of warmth and nostalgia that ties the nine loose joints that make up the LP into the most memorable and oddly cohesive of Stott's career to date, built and rendered in the spirit of those rare albums that straddle innovation and tradition through darkness and light, lingering on in the mind like nothing else.
Andy Stott continues his affair with Modern Love on full-length ‘Luxury Problems’. This eight-track album of new material features the vocals of none other than Stott’s piano teacher from his teenage years – which he loops hauntingly throughout the work. Reaching out to newer dance trends is the compressed, shuffling percussion but these compositions have a heavy, drugged feeling - seriously intoxicating.
Too Many Voices is the fourth album from Andy Stott, a follow-up to 2014’s Faith in Strangers. It was recorded over the last 18 months and sees a diverse spectrum of influences bleed into 9 tracks that are as searching as they are memorable. The album draws for inspiration from the fourth-world pop of Japan’s Yellow Magic Orchestra as much as it does Triton-fuelled Grime made 25 years later. Somewhere between these two points there’s an oddly aligned vision of the future that seeps through the pores of each of the tracks. It’s a vision of the future as was once imagined; artificial, strange and immaculate. Full of possibilities. The album opens with the harmonised, deteriorating pads of the opening Waiting For You and arcs through to the synthetic chamber-pop of the closing title track, referencing Sylvian & Sakamoto’s Bamboo Houses as much as it does the ethereal landscapes of This Mortal Coil and Dead Can Dance. In between, the climate and palette constantly shift, taking in the midnight pop of Butterflies, the humid, breathless House of First Night and the endlessly cascading Forgotten. Longtime vocal contributor Alison Skidmore features on half the tracks, sometimes augmented by the same simulated materials; voicing the dystopian breakdown on Selfish, at others surrounded by beautiful synth washes, such as on the mercurial Over, or the dreamy, neon-lit New Romantic. It’s all far removed from the digital synthesis and the abstracted intricacies that define much of the current electronic landscape. The same cybernetic palette is here implanted into more human form; sometimes cold, but more often thrumming with life.
Produced slowly and meticulously, these seven tracks by Manchester's Andy Stott take influence from an array of seemingly incoherent noises, from the indefinable and unforgettable mind-tricks of Arthur Russell to the slow house of Kassem Mosse, from the alternate VHS realities of James Ferraro and Jamal Moss to the LinnDrum classics of the vintage Prince era. These seven tracks create their own pace and agenda, largely shying away from the dancefloor in favor of something more complex and hard to define. Following on from the tribal malfunctions of opening intro "Signature," "New Ground" heads into a chasm of layered loops, creating a decimated and re-wired funk template colored in with frayed percussion and dislodged vocal samples. "North To South" starts off from similar ground but adds a shuffling vibe at a deceptively intoxicated 110 bpm. "Intermittent" is something altogether different, taking perfectly formed boogie templates and screwing with them until nothing quite fits, brittle elements floating in and out of time yet somehow keeping it together, before "Dark " delivers the most dancefloor compatible six-minute stretch of the set, all clanging stabs and dense percussion, somewhere between Shackleton and Bam Bam. "Execution" and "Passed Me By" end things off on a slowed-down tip, the former deploying an anaesthetized and padded 4/4 template sunk deeper into the abyss by deformed, time-stretched vocals, the latter ending off proceedings with a more delicate palette, letting go of all that pent-up emotion with nothing but that rumbling low-end and some strings for company.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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