你可能没有听过 Actress 的音乐,但是他的经历真可算是“传奇”——他曾是一位足球运动员,却阴差阳错成为了一名电子音乐人。




对的,Actress 的音乐很抽象。不妨5月20日来潮潮豆瓣音乐周感受一下。


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入耳 IN MY EARS #23: Actress 的《AZD》里冰冷的铬

撰文/Josh Feola 


Josh Feola(赵识)住在北京,他既以乐手身份参与及组织摇滚乐和实验音乐演出,同时也是一位优秀的撰稿人,独立运营着音乐网站 pangbianr.com在每周的专栏[入耳 In My Ears]里,Josh 会以他的独特视角,讲述独立音乐场景中的种种故事,也许还会展示出音乐人、厂牌或是演出场地更加不为人知的一面。


推荐曲目:Actress - 《FAURE IN CHROME》


Darren J. Cunningham 如今以 Actress 这个艺名为人所知。但是他最初的志向却是成为一名足球运动员。Cunningham在英国西米德兰兹郡的胡弗汉顿市长大,从小便钟情于足球运动并展现出了过人的天赋,直到一次严重的受伤击碎了他的运动员梦。Cunningham 被迫开始了另一条人生轨迹。除了足球,他的另一个从小就开始的爱好是绘画,不过在受伤之后,他却开始对音乐产生兴趣,开始学习 DJ 技巧,并在胡佛汉顿的家庭派对中表演。






开始自学 DJ 不久,Cunningham 收到了一份来自英国职业足球协会的补贴金——为那些因伤病而被迫退出足球生涯的青年运动员。带着这笔钱,他来到伦敦去学习录音艺术技艺,晚上就在当地闻名于世的地下音乐圈混迹。最后他发现,他更喜爱俱乐部而非课堂。于是他和几个朋友们开始做一个名为“Werkdiscs”俱乐部活动之夜,并在2004年将其发展成一个厂牌,发行了最早一张以Actress为名义发布的作品。在 Ninja Tune 的艺人介绍页面上,他是这么写的:“我把本来要用来交学费的钱,拿去买了一堆合成器” NinjaTune 发行过他的好几张专辑,包括最新的这张《AZD》。




不过在 Actress 的音乐里始终有一种非常理性的角度。在他的专辑宣传文案里,总有一些充满谜语又让人脑洞大开的文字。比如说发行于2014年备受好评的《Ghettoville》,就附带了一首“结尾诗”,这是一首充满意象的宣言,暗示这会是他的最后一张唱片:“经过了漂白,然后又着黑,《Ghettoville》成为 Actress 形象之终结。”


不过在3年的蛰伏之后,Actress 如今又带着新作《AZD》从他的自我放逐中回归。这也是他在理念上最为耐人寻味,也是听觉上最为直截了当的一部作品。在声音上,《AZD》的大多数作品更适合俱乐部,而此前的 Actress 的作品则是大量不规则,随心所欲的实验。他对底特律  techno 几位先驱 Derrick May, Carl Craig和 Kevin Saunderson 等人的喜爱,也可以在这张专辑中听到。



在歌曲之外,Actress 更通过《AZD》以一种多媒体的形式,探讨音乐和人文之间的兼容度,以及两者如何被一些非人类的事物所改造,比如金属和机械。这张专辑的中心主题是铬(CHROME),它作为一种金属材质的颜色与冰冷。这张专辑里一些在音乐上的一些冒险元素源自 Actress 与伦敦当代交响乐团的合作:Actress 以交响乐团的原声声响作为素材,对其进行电子化的后期处理,最后的成品呈现出一种锯齿般的失谐,就像一个机器人对人类音乐所能产生的感知体验。最能体现这一点的,是我在这里的选曲《FAURE IN CHROME》,关于这一首,专辑的宣传文案是这么说的:“听起来就像最正宗的古典音乐被禁锢在了一块电子冰块中,然后被一个高频带宽扫描。”我觉得这说得没错。专辑里另一首佳作《RUNNER》,则被描绘成“对电影《银翼杀手》的一次个人化重新配乐”,只不过这次是从复制人的角度来讲述故事的。


Actress 在最近伦敦现场中首演了《AZD》,演出描述很耐人寻味:“一个联接电路的测试框架,当中运用了多种语言——包括全球化的 Midi,歌词,玛雅的蒂卡尔密码,还有各种合成器——来完成这个名为 AZD 的智能乐器…这是这座都市的音乐维生素。”我不确定我们是否会在北京看到同样的表演,但我很期待看到 Actress 会和我们这座都市产生什么样的反应。


Actress 会在5月20日周六,在糖果的潮潮豆瓣音乐周主舞台表演。




Actress - “AZD”



Josh Feola 是一位音乐人/撰稿人,现居北京。自2010年起,他通过自己的平台“旁边儿”(pangbianr)组织音乐、艺术、电影活动,并先后担任 D-22 与 XP 的演出经理。他的长期项目有撒丽不跳舞实验音乐节(Sally Can't Dance)与北京电子乐偶遇(BEME)。他为以下出版机构撰写过关于音乐、艺术的文章:The Wire,Leap 艺术界,Sixth Tone,Tiny Mix Tapes,他也是纽约观察者报 Gulou View 观点专栏的共同作者之一。作为音乐人,他曾在北京乐队吹万担任鼓手,参与首张专辑《白夜》的录音与巡演;目前他是乐队 Subs、迷走神经的鼓手,也化名 Charm 录音、演出。



IN MY EARS #23: The Cold Chrome of Actress’ “AZD"

by Josh Feola


Selected track: Actress - “FAURE IN CHROME"


入耳 In My Ears is a weekly music column by Josh Feola 赵识, Beijing-based writer and musician and founder of pangbianr.com


Darren J. Cunningham’s first love was football. Growing up in the West Midlands city of Wolverhampton, the artist currently known as Actress developed an early obsession with the sport, and showed great promise until a debilitating injury ended his professional sports ambitions and set him on a very different path. Cunningham also had an early interest in drawing, and after his football injury he started to get into music, learning to DJ and playing at house parties around Wolverhampton. Oddly enough, his impairment in one field would lead to his advancement in another.




Not long after he began teaching himself to DJ, Cunningham received a grant from the Professional Footballers Association for young athletes who’d suffered career-ending injuries. He used the grant money to move to London and study Recording Arts, by night becoming enmeshed in the city’s legendary underground music scene. In the end, the world of the club held more interest for him than the world of the classroom. He started his own club night called Werkdiscs with some friends, and it morphed into a label in 2004 with his first release under the name Actress. "I ended up buying synthesisers instead of paying tuition fees,” an artist bio on Ninja Tune — the label that has released several of Actress’ albums, including the brand new AZD — quotes him as saying of the switch.


Actress- AZD


Still, Actress’ music has always come with an intellectual angle. He’s known for including cryptic, esoteric press release texts with his albums. His critically lauded 2014 album Ghettoville, for example, came with an "epilogue poem” that suggested the album would be his last, with imagistic statements such as "Ghettoville is the bleached out and black tinted conclusion of the Actress image”.


After a three-year hiatus, Actress has now returned from his self-imposed exile with AZD, which is at the same time his most conceptually intriguing and sonically straightforward work. In terms of the sound, much of AZD comes off as more club friendly than much of Actress’ previous experiments in un-quantized, uncanny compositions. His avid appreciation of Detroit techno pioneers Derrick May, Carl Craig and Kevin Saunderson is audible throughout.



Beyond the songs themselves, Actress has conceived AZD as a multi-media experience questioning the compatibility between music, humanity, and how each is processed by non-human forms like metal and machines. The album is themed around chrome, both the color and the cold, metallic substance. Some of the album’s more musically adventurous elements have grown out of a collaboration Actress did with the London Contemporary Orchestra, in which he used the orchestra’s acoustic sounds as input and subjected them to electronic processes that render the finished product into something that sounds jaggedly off-putting, like the cognitive experience of human music by a cyborg. This is most evident on the track I’ve selected here, “FAURE IN CHROME”, which the album press release says "sounds like the very institution of classical music being encased in electronic ice and scanned through a high frequency bandwidth.” I don’t disagree. Another album standout, “RUNNER”, is described as “a personal re-soundtracking of Blade Runner” told from the perspective of a replicant.


Actress recently debuted AZD’s live show in London, with this tantalizing description: "a test frame for linking circuits using various forms of language — Midi globalised language, Lyrical language, Tikal Graffiti code and various other Synthesiser language — to create one intelligent musical instrument called AZD... This is the music vitamin of the Metropolis.” I’m not sure if we’ll get the exact same show in Beijing, but I look forward to seeing what Actress will make of this Metropolis.


Actress performs at Douban Music’s Wetware festival on Saturday, May 20 at Tango



Associated pages

Actress - “AZD”


About the author

Josh Feola is a writer and musician based in Beijing. He’s organized music, art, and film events in the city since 2010, via his label pangbianr and as booking manager of live music venues D-22 and XP. His ongoing event series include the Sally Can’t Dance experimental music festival and the Beijing Electronic Music Encounter (BEME). He has written about music and art for publications including The Wire, LEAP, Sixth Tone, and Tiny Mix Tapes. He also co-authors the Gulou View opinion column for the New York Observer. As a musician, he formerly played drums in Beijing band Chui Wan, recording on and touring behind their debut album, White Night. He currently plays drums in SUBS and Vagus Nerve, and also records and performs under the name Charm.



Wetware Douban Music Festival Official Site

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