Karma & Desire

Actress - Karma & Desire
Critic Score
Based on 10 reviews
2020 Ratings: #456 / 794
User Score
Based on 95 ratings
2020 Ratings: #632
Liked by 2 people
October 23, 2020 / Release Date
LP / Format
Ninja Tune / Label
Ambient, Microhouse / Genres
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The music is engaging, yet thought provoking. It sounds unlike his previous three releases, but there is a continuation of ideas throughout. It’s an album from an artist who doesn’t pander to trends and goes his own path.


Karma & Desire never comes close to being a dance record — it's much too opaque and fragile and weird for that. Instead, listeners are left with a longform thinkpiece that's expertly conceived, well executed and brilliantly sequenced.


Six years after he etched a headstone for music, this enigma has made the easiest point of entry into his catalog.

Beats Per Minute

By accepting the chaotic elements coexisting alongside our stark self-made structures – be it tangible, psychological or virtual – Karma & Desire might be the most honest form of pop music one can make at this moment.

Spectrum Culture

There’s tons of great music on Karma & Desire, but not enough to keep us from thinking about his next album.

Like all of Cunningham’s work to date, this is (at least at first) quite a difficult album to love, but given some time its wonders become clear.
Loud and Quiet

While housing some of the most fascinating and, at times, outright beautiful moments of Actress’ career, the overall impact of Karma & Desire fails to leave the lasting impression of past projects.

Overcast electro from mercurial producer and guest singers.
'Karma & Desire' is a perfectly calm and relaxing album. It is deep, pleasantly monotonous and moderately muffled.
While Actress clearly demonstrates amazing technical ability and variety, previous efforts have been underwhelming due to a lack of melodic focus in favour of more cold and calculated soundplay. While this can lead to some amazing results (Splazsh being a stellar example), for the most part, whole Actress albums have underwhelmed me save for a handful of tracks. This reason alone makes Karma & Desire instantly stand out, but by going above and beyond by not just compounding on solid ... read more
It's a bit of a step down, innit?

I've enjoyed the soothing vibes provided by Darren Cunningham A.K.A Actress for a while now. Apart from his best project "R.I.P", I also enjoyed the lengthy free download thing we dropped earlier this year, "88". Therefore, I was excited for this new helping of ambient bliss from the Wolverhampton native.

Unfortunately, I think that "Karma & Desire" is by far, the most inconsistent project Actress has ever released. Whether ... read more
✪✪✪✪ - very good
UK producer Darren Cunningham has managed to start his own electronic music label and build a respected music career as Actress and in 2020 he brought us his seventh studio album with Karma & Desire. This album does a great job of bringing in nice variety, as some song give us interesting landscapes of soft keys and ambient openness to others that bust out energetic house tempos wrapped in webs of darkened obscurity. This one took a while to break through to me, but once it did, it was one ... read more
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Track List

  1. Fire and Light
  2. Angels Pharmacy (feat. Zsela)
  3. Remembrance (feat. Zsela)
  4. Reverend
  5. Leaves Against The Sky
  6. Save
  7. VVY (feat. Sampha)
  8. XRAY
  9. Gliding Squares
  10. Many Seas, Many Rivers (feat. Sampha)
  11. Loveless (feat. Aura T-09)
  12. Public Life (feat. Vanessa Benelli Mosell)
  13. Fret
  14. Loose (feat. Christel Well)
  15. Turin (feat. Aura T-09)
  16. Diamond X
  17. Walking Flames (feat. Sampha)
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Added on: May 22, 2019