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Actress Surprises With New Album "88" Available for Free

The multi-genre artist wastes no time in announcing and releasing what is presumed to be the prequel to his delayed studio album "Karma and Desire."

Within 24 hours this week, UK-based musician Darren Cunningham, best known as Actress, went from announcing a new album, then sharing its track list, to finally posting a link (shared below) of its whereabouts.


Retrieving "88" was no cakewalk for those who do not follow the multi-genre producer closely. A code containing three words is required to unlock the album as a free download with the page containing a single clue: "fate with love." What could this possibly mean?

Another hint may be more visible in an announcement that Cunningham made over a year ago, which potentially explains why "88" was suddenly released. Having announced the name of what would have been his seventh solo album last year, "Karma and Desire" was delayed of its original October 2019 release date.

As "88" is clearly not Cunningham's next long-awaited studio album, lots of speculation occurred due to the nature of this mysterious release. Will "Karma and Desire" ever be released? Could this album be a replacement for the original idea lost over time? Do the eights in the title mean that this is his eighth full-length record, but it was released independently as a prequel to the delay?

Luckily, there is a happy ending to all the confusion. A PDF included in this newest release contains the track list and release date to "Karma and Desire." The highly anticipated studio album will be out October 2020, exactly a year after its initial release window. Though we are still left with unanswered questions, it will certainly be worth the wait.

Refocusing the attention back to "88," the 48-minute single track appears to be a reel of songs that may have been written when "Karma and Desire" was coming to life, yet lack overall cohesiveness to be included. It is quite reassuring to hear Cunningham's acclaimed formula persist throughout the album: warm textures, enigmatic sampling, no restrictions to a genre, a tease of occasional dance floor rhythms. and an overall DIY feel to its entirety. Some of these ideas can even be considered his best work in years.

If these were tracks that did not make it onto his delayed studio release, one could only imagine what is to come in October when the next Actress album arrives. Until then, we will fight the anticipation by keeping "88" on repeat.