Andy Stott: "Hi-Rise"


By Mark Abraham | 15 August 2006

Merciless, dense beast that it is, takes a while to get into, and while I think the album as a whole plays the same card too many times, focus on any one track long enough and you’ll eventually find Stott’s dark, hypnotic approach to dance floor damage charming. “Hi-Rise” clips over a drum track inspired by a lawn sprinkler; the shifty hats scribble over the white page of a soft, filtered electric piano. Stott likes to smudge things together to produce interesting resonant moments, only to have his percussive tracks assert themselves and change the dynamic of a given song. This one is no exception; when the jazz drumming enters about a minute and a half in, the track is sensational, and if you have a strobe light at your disposal you should probably turn it on.

That opening bass (or maybe even kick?) is so deep your bowls will be grooving, hunched over your body, trying to stay upright. And even if that sounds foreboding, and it is as Stott captures the gloomy residential construction of his and my mother’s hometown, “Hi-Rise” is in many ways the manic moment of a dark, thick album. Hearing Stott bob above the constricting tracks elsewhere on Merciless is a treat; it’s a shame there aren’t more moments that gush and gruel in such synchronicity.