Andy Stott
Luxury Problems


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
November 10th, 2012 | 104 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist


Luxury Problems exists in the realm of negative space. This probably sounds like nothing new for fans of underground electronic music, the collective aim of which in the past decade or so has been to phase out the hedonistic beat-drops and bass rumbles that now characterize the mainstream. Andy Stott, then, is part of a great tradition of quiet rebellion--of detaching from conventional sources of aesthetic pleasure and trying to find something more enduring with which to replace them. This is undoubtedly an honorable cause, but not one unmarred by lamentable missteps; James Blake so thoroughly sublimated his dubstep of carnal pleasures that in a year we went from the delicious “CMYK” to, uh, “Pan”. All of this is to say that the general “negative space dance music” I’m describing, in which little clicks and samples of static replace bassy kick drums and crunchy snares, is the result of a small-scale musical rebellion, but is also only interesting when that rebellion holds some import external to thinking Skrillex sucks or whatever.

This is exactly why Andy Stott’s new album is so exciting: inside its negative space, it sustains some seriously visceral thrills. This is still music defined by its insistent minimalism, but that minimalism has been chained to an honestly filthy grooviness. Luxury Problems contains a lot of the sonic affectations of its more boring ambient-techno brethren (including the dreadfully overrated Ricardo Villalobos), but uses that ethereal fuzz and scant percussion to refreshingly not-boring ends. The title track has a driving groove that feels positively subterranean. “Up the Box” unleashes--you better believe it--the Amen Break to weirdly entrancing effect. Opening track “Numb” and closer “Leaving” both start as ethereal whispers before transforming into something deeper, perhaps a little menacing.

A lot of this can be attributed to Alison Skidmore, Andy Stott’s new muse (and former piano teacher), who provides gorgeous and understated vocals for almost all of the material here; countless other reviewers have correctly observed that this gives Stott’s music a newfound “human” quality. But most of the credit should be given to the man himself, who constructs something both of ethereal beauty and of muscular propulsion--a combination that, due to some weird Heisenberg principle of indie electronic music, hasn’t really existed with such potency as it does here. Thankfully, the movement now has Andy Stott to write its treatises.



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user ratings (149)
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3.8
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fish CONTRIBUTOR (4)
A dark, claustrophobic exploration along the border between machine and humanity...


Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2012


15051 Comments


#luxuryprobz

mindleviticus
November 10th 2012


8292 Comments


It's a step down from his other stuff imo

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2012


15051 Comments


for me it's probably a small step up. all of it exists on about the same plane

mindleviticus
November 10th 2012


8292 Comments


I like it to an extent, but then I just remember his first album

Tyrael
November 10th 2012


20900 Comments


Not familiar with this guy's work but the album cover is really cool

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2012


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i've still got to give this a full listen but Hatch The Plan is soooooooooo fucking good. I'm hoping be can return to the form of his last LP (which was like 06 I think)

and also yeah, probably the best album artwork of the year thus far

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
November 11th 2012


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Solid album, sleeplessness is a proper banger. Never quite fills the shoes of We Stay Together.

liledman
November 11th 2012


3826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I liked the use of vocals, and the change in atmosphere, but the vibe he's going for hits nowhere near as hard as what he achieved on We Stay Together. Doesn't matter too much though, as the two EPs plus bonus tracks is almost two albums worth of that material.

This is great, but I think it could be improved. This album sounds more like an experiment in progress, even next to the EPs. I hope that his next release will consolidate this new style further.


Also, did anybody else see this? http://youtu.be/g8AT6L0UW1A

Not a bad combo.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
November 11th 2012


6487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool album. It's a nice further progression from his other work. If he keeps it up, I suspect he'll be releasing a semi-classic album within the next few years.

Oh, and Villalobos isn't overrated, wtf man.

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

mindleviticus
November 11th 2012


8292 Comments


Oh shit. Didn't even see the Villalobos bashing. Not cool.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2012


15051 Comments


8))))

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 11th 2012


7362 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad this got a review, been enjoying it recently. Might up it to a 4 at some point.

chambered49
November 13th 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome album, prob in my top 20

chambered49
November 13th 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh shush

Rev
November 13th 2012


9437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rules

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2012


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuuuuuuuuuuuck this is so good

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

SeaAnemone
November 13th 2012


20534 Comments


yeah legit one of the better albums this year... so so addicting "Hatch The Plan" is a motherfucking masterpiece

Digging: Pharmakon - Bestial Burden

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2012


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh2k6yldXTE

yo potsy

scissorlocked
November 13th 2012


3511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

surprised to see this kinda hyped from several sites

it's really good

Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2012


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh man I am LOVING this. more than Merciless I think. I'm enjoying this more than any other Andy Stott record I've ever heard.



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