Record Label: Ninja Tune
Limited indie exclusive clear colored vinyl, includes metallic silver outer bag
Actress, real name Darren Jordan Cunningham, known to friends as DAZ, returns with a new album, now on Ninja Tune and a new music system called “AZD” (pronounced “Azid”), a chrome aspect journey into a parallel world. An artist who has always preferred to make music than to talk about it, in “AZD” he has achieved another remarkable landmark, one which is as resistant to interpretation as it is demanding of it. Following on from his previous albums, R.I.P, Splazsh and Hazyville, an epilogue poem attached to the press release for Ghettoville was construed by media, commentators and spectators that Cunningham had retired. This led him to conceptualise this mass of conclusion as the key to ‘Giving power back to identity.’
So a few pointers, or possible ways to think about “AZD”. The album is themed around chrome – both as a reflective surface to see the self in, and as something that carves luminous voids out of any colour and fine focuses white and black representing the perfect metaphor for the bleakness of life in the Metropolis as suggested by Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate.
Another way to approach would be through the art of James Hampton and Rammellzee (who inspired “CYN,” which Cunningham also sees as a vision of New York in reverse…) – both of whom, though of different generations of the African-American slave diaspora, created art through “Sourcing castaway materials from their environment and reinterprating them into absolute majesty given from the fourth dimension.” There is also the career-long influence of the Detroit techno pioneers, something which becomes clear on this album “there is a contrast in the type of glow or reflection”.
Alternatively, you could write your PhD thesis on Jung’s Shadow Theory and AZD: “Lots of ideas come from dreams, this isn’t new, but sometimes the conscious mind starts to meld into the universal consciousness through constellation tunnelling.” If that sounds too taxing then you could always fall back on Star Wars and, in particular, the Death Star: “It has a dark dystopian backdrop, with highly sophisticated technology, but it is fading into the ether, still holding on and emitting a powerful energy. The music remaking the embers, binding them together and pulling them apart again.”
Alternatively, just listen. That “glow” Cunningham talks about makes this in some ways more immediate than previous Actress releases. Take lead single, “X22RME” (pronounced “Extreme”) which elegantly plays between the lines of Oriental classic rave and Balinese warehouse Techno machined in a Rotherhithe lock up welding the grooves into a seamless cracked joint.
At the other end of the spectrum is “Faure in Chrome,” a byproduct or development from his collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra, in which he “repatterns” aspect of Faure’s Requiem into a piece which sounds like the very institution of classical music being encased in electronic ice and scanned through a high frequency bandwidth. In between are gems like “Runner,” a personal re-soundtracking of Blade Runner “its from the deleted Fade Runner scene where AZD in a Peckham Cafe realises his barber has over the years etched a faded scroll into his head using early 80s African synthpop as a vexing serum“, or “Falling Rizlas,” an alienated music-box ballad. It’s a remarkable piece of work, that harks back both to Actress’ previous productions and to earlier iterations of the (broadly conceived) “techno” project without being beholden to anything but Cunningham’s forward-facing, individual and disembodied vision.
The simplest you could say about “AZD” is that it’s art – the unique creation of a unique mind. There will be few more distinctive, brilliant or visionary suites of music released in 2017. Call him what you will, this is the year that Darren ‘Daz’ Cunningham - aka Actress, aka AZD – asserts more clearly than ever before his complete independence.
If you have questions regarding your order please visit our Order Status page before contacting us.
If it's urgent don't hesitate to give us a ring.
Business hours are Monday - Friday 9AM-5PM PST.
Call Us Toll Free: (888) 377-3175
To reach us by email use the form below:
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.
Important information when ordering with Fatbeats.com...
• Online orders are processed within 1-2 business days.
• If you are confused or need to know about an order placed on the site you can contact us
• Order processing time is separate from shipping time requested.
• International orders and orders that require additional credit verification can take longer to process. Please be available at the provided number or email submitted to speed up verification time.
•We try and offer as many upcoming projects available for pre-order when the releases have moved into production. However, due to the nature of manufacturing and production, pre-order dates may change. If your pre-ordered items are holding your package from arriving please email us with a request to ship the in-stock items and pre-orders when they become available.
•If your order contains pre-order items we will hold the package until all titles are available to ship. Please specify in the comments section of the checkout if you would like to: a) hold your entire order until it can be entirely fulfilled or, b) have the in-stock items shipped immediately and the pre-ordered items ship when available. Please note that option B may require additional shipping charges as multiple packages will be shipped.
• Our stock rapidly changes and we try and set in place a system that avoids purchasing items that become out of stock. However, if a product ordered is out of stock, we will reach out and give you the chance to change or cancel your order. If you choose to cancel, you will be refunded in full.
• IMPORTANT: If the address or phone number supplied conflicts with other information provided, i.e. billing information versus shipping information, we may need to contact you to verify your purchase. Please be available to verify or write an explanation in the notes section during checkout explaining the conflicting information.
•Please make sure you give us your correct billing address and your correct billing phone number. Again, it is highly important that you are available at the provided number or email submitted to speed up verification time enabling us to avoid fraudulent purchases.
• All sales are final. However, if the item ordered is different from the item you receive, please contact us and we can arrange to get you the desired product.
• We are committed to protecting your privacy. There is an opt-in policy to receive marketing and other e-blasts about future products available as well as deals and coupons. If you do not wish to receive these emails you can opt out by simply removing the check from the marketing box below upon check out. We will never sell your email or personal information.
• Your payment and personal information is always safe. Our SSL (secure server software) is the industry standard and among the best software available today for secure commerce transactions. It encrypts all of your personal information, including credit card number, name, and address, so that it cannot be read over the internet.
Fat Beats offers internship opportunities. You must be enrolled in college and reside in the Los Angeles area to be eligible for our programs. If you meet these requirements, please paste your cover letter below and we will contact you if there are open positions available.
We are currently offering an internship program that offers an educational experience in all facets of our distribution operation. The intern would have the ability to assist in each of the following departments:
Online Retail / Marketing
Shipping & Receiving
- Enrollment in an accredited college/university that offers an internship program for academic credit
- Knowledge and passion in independent music and culture; with a specific interest in the artists/releases that Fat Beats supports
- Familiarity with Microsoft Office applications
- Positive attitude - no task should be considered too small
- Must be located in the greater Los Angeles area
Resumes/Cover Letters should be emailed to email@example.com