Karma & Desire

Actress - Karma & Desire
Critic Score
Based on 7 reviews
2020 Ratings: #353 / 707
User Score
Based on 44 ratings
2020 Ratings: #685
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.

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.

'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
Actress has always been an electronic artist where I’ve loved the vibe, their way of producing but the albums as a whole just don’t hit. Some songs here and there, especially on the record AZD are definitely worthwhile. For this record I was just hoping for a more interesting, visceral listen. I can’t really say I got that. There are definitely some enjoyable elements to nearly every song here, but nothing really sticks out as being really good, or actually intriguing. The ... read more
A few months prior to this album's release. Actress released a single 49-minute long file named "88". I wasn't too won over by the file, but I thought it was solid enough. It made me curious as to what he had to offer for his new studio album Karma & Desire.
Some of the lush, ambient textures of AZD show up on this album, but Actress throws in some pianos to further amplify the ambient aspects. There’s also some featured guests to keep the listener’s interest, with the ... read more
Actress does not fail. A spatial microhouse with a dose of IDM.

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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