ACTRESS at Blk Box, Saturday, June 8. Rating: NNN
UK electronic musician Actress (aka Darren Cunningham) is known for the extreme diversity of his catalogue, and fittingly, his live set was all over the map. But there's a difference between healthy variety and a random scattershot approach. His set ranged from menacing ambient drones to Dilla-influenced instrumental hip-hop to deconstructed skeletal dubstep to moody techno, but rather than moving logically, he lurched unpredictably from rhythm to rhythm - it seemed like he was pulling tracks out of a hat.
Nevertheless, the individual songs' quality and creativity made up for his puzzling setlist construction. While most electronic performers wouldn't dare play 15 minutes of beat-less washes of sound at a deafening volume to a peak-time Saturday-night dance floor, it was refreshing to see Cunningham have the balls to take chances. Those kinds of choices sent the more casual listeners fleeing for the exits, but his hardcore fans loved every minute.