Andy Stott: Merciless
Modern Love

Ending Merciless with a delicate piano-and-strings rendering of Claro Intelecto's “Peace of Mind” only confirms what's strongly intimated throughout Andy Stott's full-length debut: that the Manchester native's pristine tech-house tracks would fit just as cozily on Ai Records as they do Modern Love. Amazingly, Stott, a car-painter by day, has only been producing music for two years—a fact wholly belied by the artisty of his house, techno, dubstep, and electro material (in fact, the 10 tracks comprising the 40-minute Merciless were selected from a catalogue of over 100 pieces).

“Florence” inaugurates the album in elegant downtempo mode with brooding strings and droplets of piano joined by a thudding bass ostinato and the locomotive thrust of hi-hats and snares. A similarly bass-heavy pulse drives “Edyocat” where burbling house chords rise to the surface and gleaming synths flutter. Stoking rubbery swells of bass, “Hertzog” cruises as breezily and effortlessly as a Mercedes down the Autobahn, while twilight melodies beam down from the night sky. Stott has an affinity for warmth and understatement too. Peel away layers of handclaps (“Come To Me”) and buoyantly swishing hi-hats (“Hi-Rise”) and his exuberant cuts become ‘atmospheric' or even perhaps ‘ambient house.' Stott also wisely varies the tech-house flow by interjecting a graceful piano vignette in the middle (“Merciless”) and coiled acid (“Choke”) and reverberant dubstep elsewhere (“Blocked”). Merciless is tailor-made for fans of Ai's lush electronic melodicism.

October 2006