Andy Stott: Merciless

Modern Love, 2006

Stott’s been a prolific producer of 12-inches for the past year or so, but this is his first full-length. Merciless begins with “Florence,” subdued techno featuring piano, electronic strings, and an old-school bassline. “Edyocat” is drop-dead gorgeous, with an acid line that slowly shifts and reverbs until it merges with melody over simple pads. It ends rather abruptly, though. “Choke,” the title track off Stott’s recent 10-inch, has a slow, grumbling bassline and melancholy synths. It’s a crawl through the slimy ones and zeroes of primordial techno, with filtered bleeps and electro beats. “Hi-Rise” on the other hand is bright and clear with an old-school feel. I wish it were longer.

After the title track, a piano interlude heavy on the sustain pedal, the second half of the album is a bit muddled. “Come to Me” has hints of eighties pop, but a melody never really develops. “Hertzog” and “Boutique” build a bit with analogue synthesizer sounds, but they both remain somewhat indistinct. The aptly titled “Blocked” starts with some good ideas, but isn’t long enough to expand on them. Finally, “Peace of Mind” is another piano cool-down.

This album is frustratingly close to being a masterpiece. I love the first half, but get burnt out near the end. Get this for a handful of mind-blowing tracks, but don’t expect the perfection of Stott’s tighter EPs.

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