Actress – ‘Ghettoville’ LP [Werkdiscs] + Shackleton – ‘Freezing Opening Thawing’ 12″ [Woe To The Septic Heart!]

Thought we’d group these plates together as they’ve brought about a similar reaction to me despite their vast differences in sound. Not sure why we’d expect anything less, but both Actress and Shackleton have offered up subtle changes in direction with their recent records, bringing me back to utter awe over the skill they put on display through their own labels.


Dropping on his own Werkdiscs label, Actress brings us Ghettoville, in a few versions in fact. We’re not quite flush enough to justify the £80 special edition but can easily see how an album this deep could justify bonus discs and extra session releases. Sticking to the 3LP that we did get our hands on, we’ve been somewhat obsessed over the bleak mood that Actress manages to weave throughout the whole thing.

It’s dark and sparse, rarely-beat driven for the first-half, but chugging along with synths and heavily worked on industrial samples, filtered right down beyond recognition. During this time, where the record moves at funeral-procession pace, these battered techniques are oddly comforting especially when listening start to finish.

Not until the first cut on the D-side that we get our first taste of danceability, as the track slowly morphs in to something that can equally be played out in the club. Things pick up in to the Actress 12″ attitude, and back to R.I.P. which was the most overly-gushed upon incident of last year.

As always with Actress, it’s an inspiring body of work as a whole filled with tracks that are equally brilliant on their own. Actress really is a top-notch producer, and personally I find his ability to capture the unforgiving but active atmosphere of London life after dark spot-on.


And if Actress has somehow surprised the ridiculous high-expectations by stripping back and darkening up his works even further, Shackelton has achieved the same reaction by going the other way.

I’ve always held Shackleton to Three EPs, the ridiculously good boxset released on Perlon in 2009. At the time it was bringing together techno and dubstep heads, and it’s live drums and middle eastern influences were revolutionary for me at the time.

To be honest I skipped a few EPs along the way to the new one. And not that The Drawbar Organ releases weren’t a brilliant listen, but when it came to functional plates as well, I soon found myself without a need for more Shackleton in the bag.

Oddly, the fact that Shackleton has gone back to incorporating more digital elements in to his productions on the new EP has gotten me hooked on his entire catalogue again. Freezing Opening Thawing is a three-track EP coming via his own Woe To The Septic Heart! imprint, and it’s absolutely stunning.

The tribal drum-patterns and techno essence is still present, but he’s added some totally synthetic synth layers, that somehow compliment the each other beautifully.