The post-dub, ambient, techno, and drone artist Andy Stott returns next month with his newest album, Faith in Strangers. It’s his first solo effort in two years and his fourth studio album. With a little over two months left in 2014, it’s easily one of this year’s last, most-anticipated albums. Trying to match the success of 2012’s Luxury Problems, Stott unveils his first single from the album, “Violence.” The track features guest vocalist Alison Skidmore, who contributed to Luxury Problems and was previously Stott’s piano teacher.
“Violence” opens up with condensed digital drum beats and an electronic scale that is reminiscent of Super Mario World, whilst entering Bowser’s castle. It’s creepy, forthright, and brings a heavy sense of impending fear. Then comes in Skidmore’s airy, slurred, and intricately-masked vocals. She takes on the identity of a tempting apparition while she repeats the word, “inside.” As she lures you in, Stott slowly builds in a dense bass, first layering it under the surface, but as you go further in, it eventually claws its way above ground; it peaks its hefty head up, clouding the stillness in the air. Instead of overpowering Skidmore, she gains strength as well and encourages you to “clap your hands,” but in a commanding, crowd-control sense and less of a crowd-pleasing way. The middle of the track builds to a crushing force that doesn’t let up until the very last notes.
With Andy Stott’s last album toying with styles of R&B and minimalism, “Violence” carries with it an unsettling sense of doom. The immensity of his bass and the girth of his keys allow us to envision Andy Stott wielding a sledgehammer. Before, he was lugging it around with him, but now he has grown to carry it, and he isn’t afraid to exert its force upon his listeners.
“Violence” is an oddly gallant and profound work by Stott that commands your attention upon first listen. It draws slight comparisons to The Knife’s Silent Shout and Portishead. It’s unnerving and restless, and it’s just a taste of the nine new tracks off Faith in Strangers. Modern Love will release Andy Stott’s new album on November 17th.