Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Demdike Stare's album "Wonderland" & US Tour: May 5 - 12

For most, Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker were first encountered in the context of the Modern Love label's string of hailed releases surrounding Andy Stott's breakthrough "We Stay Together" of 2011. This prolific period for the electronic producer in interviews for FACT Mag, "Tearing Up the Rulebook: Making Mistakes is the Most Exciting Thing You Can Do" and "Andy Stott: Lost and Found" for Resident Advisor. Stott's previous full length, "Luxury Problems" making The Wire's 2012 Rewind and the essential British magazine hosting a significant interview with him that same year. The critical turbulence created by Stott in the wake of his string of albums for Modern Love woke audiences to  Demdike Stare's dual-pronged refashioning of dance music into a corporeal/cerebral body-impacting experience of noise and rhythm, unlike most anything heard in the genre. In rapid succession the following year saw both outfits appearances in Decibel Festival with Canty and Whittaker exhibiting their multifaceted nature in both club and theater contexts. Particularly the case in deep exploration of the duo's passion for all things Italian Giallo and French Fantastique in their live score to Jean Rollin's surrealist erotic-horror classic "La Vampire Neu". Their love of underground and cult cinema saw further expression that year in the British Film Institute's season of Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film with a live score to accompany Benjamin Christensen's 1922, "Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages". Returning again, some 16 months later in a second label showcase with the duo, this visit to North America showcased the totality of the brobdingnagian influences on display in their body of work.

The Wire's cover feature on the duo dug deep into the what The Quietus called, "An Unholy Matrimony: In Interview with Demdike Stare", probably best epitomized by their collected "Elemental" series of 2012. Absorbing influences equally from mid-Century Modernism, Concrete and late 1970s and 80s Industrial, alongside two decades of British underground Techno, Bass and Garage music, the following "Test Pressing" 12" series showcased some of the densest subterranean atmospheres being generated in contemporary dance music. These contrasting poles are explored more explicitly, with their dance music signifiers more boldly displayed in their collaborative Millie & Andrea project via distended takes on UK Bass music and Jungle. A circumnavigation of the pigeonholing that the duo began to find themselves in, the series successfully recalibrated their listenership for the next move in, "How Demdike Stare Traded Darkness for Dancefloor Naivety on Wonderland". Backtracking from a knowingly self aware sound steeped in 1990s UK Bass, the new work follows a different trajectory around the fringes of the dancefloor. The result was a propulsive, rhythmic album that listens as a refined and precision-honed assembly of fractured and angular concrete sounds bent and refashioned to workmanlike utility. Embracing the dualistic facets of Demdike's delectus, "Wonderland" is of two minds, a frisson-charged electronic dance music album with peripheral vantages into its inner, brooding persona. Much in the way of the shared night with Andy Stott at the Crocodile of this past summer, Canty and Whittaker will be returning on tour with a date at Kremwerk next month to deliver some of the most assured, darkly rich post-techno heard this side of the millennial cusp.