So far,Andy Stott's "Numb" is the most arresting piece of music released in 2012 that I've heard for the first time in 2013. I've not been in this much of a lather about a piece of electronic music since Motion Sickness of Time Travel's "Luminaries and Synastry"or possibly that slinky, woozy first Maria Minerva12". "Numb" opens Stott's most recent album,"Luxury Problems" (Modern Love). I spied the double vinyl version in Monorail Music a few months back and although I instantly adored its cover image* (that's it above) decided that I couldn't at that time afford the 24 quid asking price. How I regret that decision now that it's sold out from boomkat, Modern Love's distributor SRD, Norman Records etc.! "Numb" is like a Steve Reich vocal composition or a cover of an unreleased fragment from Arthur Russell's heavenly"World of Echo"recast as an uncommonly elegant slice of soulful dance (?) music. The repeated sonar pulse of the word 'touch' is inexplicably compelling and I suspect I'll never tire of hearing it. It's great that in dance music it's no longer obligatory to get in a shouter to wail over your beats; subtlety is invariably best. If the rest of "Luxury Problems" (sure, I found the whole thing on YouTube but I'm saving myself for the vinyl repress should one materialise soon or failing that the cd version) approaches "Numb" in terms of quality, it will monopolise my turntable for some time. Spellbinding.
* - A similar sleeve I fell (ha!) in love with in 2012 was that which adorned Raime's "Quarter Turns Over A Living Line" (Blackest Ever Black). With diving show Splash! on ITV and these two fabulous sleeves, diving would appear to be in the air.