It’s hard not to see Passed Me By as an artistic leap forward for British producer Andy Stott. His obsessively refined style of moody dub techno has been bolstered by the use of vocal snippets and raw, crackling atmospherics – the culmination of a gradual move away from his earlier productions which purveyed sparse, icy and clinical moods. This is visually represented by the magnificent artwork that adorns this release, with both sides of the double 12″ fronted by a frankly scary looking tribesman bearing impressive battle scars.
Strictly a double EP rather than an album, Passed Me By opens with the subversive paranoia of “Signature”- a short, unsettling introductory piece that channels the kind of malevolent forces employed by Modern Love label partners Demdike Stare. This leads to the brilliant “New Ground”, which utilises a drowned-out vocal sample that immediately brings to mind the work of Actress (most notably tracks like “Lost”), which is buried deep beneath dense loops. When the barest of kick drums enters the equation after a minute and a half, the result is utterly thrilling.
The grumbling dub of “North To South” – which sounds like an approaching electrical storm, shuddering and groaning with metallic chords and tribal percussion – contrasts neatly with “Intermittent”, in which rasping drum hits form the rhythmic pulse, allowing another deftly tweaked vocal snippet to float over the top. It’s this track more than any other that sees Stott tap into the post-dubstep aesthetic, with the almost playful use of synths resulting in probably the most accessible moment on the release.
The second 12” takes on an even darker hue, with the raw, almost Shackleton-esque drum hits of “Dark Details” sprawled across the entire A-Side, evoking images the EP’s artwork. The terrifying drone of “Execution” is perhaps best heard at a vibrational level – ideally via the medium of some pretty expensive speakers – with the bubbling layers of sub bass capable shaking you to the bone; it’s hypnotic, tribal and entirely visceral, the perfect soundtrack to a shamanistic ritual in the deepest, darkest recesses of the Amazon. The crackling, ghostly atmospherics of the title track round off the release with a scorching, barely penetrable soundscape.