Actress – Karma & Desire

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Album cover for Actress "Karma & Desire"

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

About Chuck

Chuck is a lifelong music lover. He spent his 20s working as a professional musician before discovering he enjoys listening to music more than playing it. He knows a little bit about most genres, though electronic dance music, rock, and hip-hop are his favorites. Eleven albums/shows that transformed how he sees and hears the world (in order he encountered them): Fleetwood Mac Rumours; Van Halen Fair Warning; The Cure Standing on a Beach; John Coltrane Crescent; De La Soul Three Feet High and Rising; Puccini La Boheme (de los Angeles, Bjorling, Beecham); Everything but the Girl Walking Wounded; Carl Cox, Twilo, NYC, May 2000; Godspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O.; Grateful Dead. Fillmore East, NYC, April 1971; Taylor Swift 1989.

3 thoughts on “Actress – Karma & Desire

  1. bobvinyl

    Hey, I only said that about “Satisfaction!” The Stones did occasionally write a complete song.

  2. bobvinyl

    I am definitely interested in listening to this (if I can pry myself away from the late 50’s/early 60’s). I noticed that there is a short file (about 17 minutes) associated with it. Have you checked that out?

  3. Chuck Post author

    I had no idea about the short file. Where is it? And to quote Steve Buscemi as I handed him my band’s demo tape 25 years ago, What is it? (Best if said with a tone of voice that implies I’m handing over a bag of dog poop.)


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