Bob once said that the Rolling Stones can’t write a song, they only write riffs. The same could be said about Actress. On Karma & Desire, however, Darren Cunningham pushes his riffs and challenges himself and his collaborators.
Karma & Desire doesn’t rely on the factory drones that open 2014’s Ghettoville, but it builds the same grey mood. Cunningham and his collaborators layer piano arpeggios, sultry whispers, ambient noises, and ominous samples into an immersive album that is frigid yet remarkably human. Whether you’re listening in the background or on headphones with the lights off, this music takes you to shadowy places.
As with Ghettoville, though, Cunningham would benefit from learning to self-edit. There’s nothing wrong with the beat-driven songs like “Leaves Against the Sky” and the two tracks featuring Aura T-09, but they disrupt what is otherwise a lovely journey into a grey mood.
Released: October 23, 2020