With 2,175 posts in 16 months, you're bound to miss something. We've gone ahead and gathered some of our favorite tracks from now and yesteryear that didn't get much play, but deserved it.
Hubble: “Nude Ghost”
Ital: “Only For Tonight (Dubout/Saviour’s Love Megamix)”
The Rebel: “Prove It”
In response to the recent PIAS fire, rarities and re-issues label Finders Keepers birthed their Make Do & Mend series, wherein artists near and dear to them choose their favorite B-Music tracks for a limited edition compilation. Library music aficionados Demdike Stare have signed up to be one of the ten curators for the project, as well as Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys. Grab the album and peep Demdike's picks here. --Ric Leichtung, Altered Zones via The Quietus
The Wire Magazine premiered a Demdike Stare video by Jonny Redman of Euro cult cinema site Lovelockandload. The track, "Violetta," has yet to appear on a release, so we're hoping for more horror soundtrack throwbacks like this one to fill an album of new material from the Manchester duo soon. --Ric Leichtung, Altered Zones
XLR8R roped in Demdike Stare to make a podcast for them, and it rules. This mix is all over the place; Demdike throw together Lebanese belly dancing music, '90s house from Germany's Move D, stellar electronics from Dutch composer Juriaan Andriessen, and a psych folk cut from Charles Manson cohort Bobby Beausoleil into a sick forty-minute jam. Like the other podcasts before them from Teengirl Fantasy, Pictureplane, and Matthewdavid, this one is not to be missed. --Ric Leichtung, Altered Zones
Jane Weaver's 2010 album, The Fallen By Watch Bird, was a fitting entry for B-Music's sister label, Bird. Its bewitching folk sounded like it was thrust out of time, and featured guest appearances from Susan Christie, Wendy Flower of Wendy & Bonnie, and label head Andy Votel. Her latest, The Watchbird Alluminate puts her material in the capable hands of sound artisans like Demdike Stare, The Focus Group, and Anworth Kirk, among others. They reconstruct her songs into darker, sparser rivulets of ambient folk, each new reinterpretation only adding to Weaver's patchwork tapestry of wonder and woe. --Andy French, Raven Sings The Blues
The Watchbird Alluminate is available from Boomkat
Manchester/Lancaster duo Demdike Stare's deep brood is split between a backdrop of distinctly British otherwordly myth and the subterranean club rooms where Miles Whittaker, aka MLZ, got his start as a DJ and one-half of the dubby minimal techno duo Pendle Coven. They lifted their name from one of the more famed witches of their region, but anyone who has happened upon the industrial landscapes and fog-blanketed hamlets of North West England will note the dense, imagistic lean of their electronica.
Built almost entirely from samples, the music of Miles and bandmate Sean Canty-- who spends his days spelunking for bizarre musical arcana for Andy Votel's Finders Keepers label-- is about as a rich a celebration of digger's culture as you can get. Their archivalist interests lead them at once to grey drone mists and crystal-clear beats, to claustrophobia and gritty drama. We caught up with Miles on the release of Demdike's new Tryptych 3-CD, which compiles their latest three LPs on Manchester's Modern Love imprint (Symbiosis, Liberation Through Hearing, and Voices of Dust) along with over 40 minutes of bonus material.
AZ: How do you manipulate your source material? It's nearly impossible to tell what's sampled and what's not.
Miles: We manipulate samples as much as we need to in order to get the sound we want. It's a difficult question to answer. Some samples are used as a basis for what we want, but then get overshadowed by effects; some are dry loops or stabs. We don't intentionally obscure our samples, if that was the meaning, as we don't sample anything that could be used against us. We're generally sampling an atmosphere from a piece of music-- not just, say, a string for a string sample. A lot of it is about great records, and killer music which inspires us to create specific moods or atmospheres.
AZ: Do you draw inspiration from your surroundings? From rural towns like Saddleworth, for instance? I've never been to the Lancaster region, but I just moved back from living in Newcastle upon Tyne, which had a dark and very British drama to it.
Miles: Some of the colder tracks are definitely like living around here; Saddleworth Moor is just up the road from here. It has a grisly recent history, and is one of the bleakest places in Yorkshire, which is pretty close to where we're from. Once you realise how your environment influences you, it's very easy for that to become inspiration. This doesn't really make it into the sampling in that way, though. Sampling is all about us hearing a moment in a piece of music, a moment which just jumps out of the track and wants to be heard again. It's all an extension of the hip-hop ethic of sampling, which started with drum-breaks and hooks from killer soul, funk, and jazz records; we just expand our scope further into other realms.
The Manchester electronic duo of Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty have been climbing further and further above ground of late with their lantern-lit, patiently unfolding explorations of the farthest and most arcane recesses of our archival music consciousness (even, most recently, as high as NPR). The three LPs they released on the UK's Modern Love imprint in 2009-2010-- Symbiosis, Liberation Through Hearing, and Voices of Dust-- have the particularity of being almost entirely sample-based, stitching together crackly vinyl sources as diverse as jazz, early electronic and industrial, musique concrète, vintage Arabesque sounds, and old library records, while never betraying so much as a seam.
Demdike Stare's Tryptych, out this week, brings together all three releases plus some 40 minutes of additional material from those sessions in an elegant, gatefold triple CD package. The glacial and hypnotic "Nothing But The Night 2", below, is one the bonus cuts from Liberation Through Hearing, one of our favorites from last year. (via Visitation Rites)
Miles Whittaker of Demdike Stare says:
This could be construed as an obvious choice to those who already dig deep in music, but Wolfgang Dauner seems to be the place where many threads of music cross over. For us, there is nothing quite like his music. Dauner's unique style mixes left-field jazz, rock, electronic instruments, studio effects, hints of Eastern melodies, and more abstract influences while transcending all of these genres. His Output LP, released by ECM in 1970, features the amazing trio of Dauner (piano, ring modulator, and clavinet), Eberhard Weber (bass) and Fred Braceful (percussion). Also the producer is Manfred Eicher, who appears on a lot of the important ECM releases. Wolfgang Dauner is a huge influence on Demdike Stare, and is a must for anyone who's looking a little deeper to influential releases.
Manchester’s Demdike Stare is the meeting of two characteristically 21st century imaginations: electronic music enthusiast Miles Whittaker-- aka MLZ, and one-half of dub-inflected minimal techno duo Pendle Coven-- and unstoppable local record collector Sean Canty, whose work with Andy Votel’s Finders Keepers label keeps him on steady diet of vintage oddities and psychedelic obscurities from all over the globe. Miles and Sean have been hanging out and sharing tips for long as they can remember, though they didn’t start playing music together until a few years ago, when Sean suggested they try their hand at a horror soundtrack (sans film). Like Pendle Coven, the duo borrows its name from the dark past of the Lancashire region: Pendle Hill was the site of England’s most infamous witch trials, and Demdike, an alleged “Pendle Witch.”
In a recent interview with Fact Magazine, Miles described their sound as a confluence of “specific moments of space and time derived from vinyl records, signposts to our tastes in music and film.” Demdike Stare’s almost entirely sample-based atmospheres may have originated in a romance with the occult, but the duo cast their net as far as the modern archival imagination can go. Liberation Through Hearing, the second installment of their 2010 LP trilogy on Modern Love, seems to quote everything ‘80s industrial and ‘90s house music to library records, Norwegian drone, musique concrète, and Arabasque film scores; in fact, it probably quotes a lot more. But Demdike Stare immediately struck us as more than just another 2010 electronic act “curating” taste in re-appropriated musical languages. Why? Because the duo actually treat them as languages, vehicles in a larger vision quest that speeds by without even a passing nod to collage or pastiche-- even if Sean cites DJ Shadow as one of his formative inspirations.
The odyssey is an unremittingly dark one, chock full of robotic pulses, mechanical whirrs, and cold ambience. As Andy from Raven Sings The Blues pointed out, the album’s title refers to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which describes the journey of the soul in the period death to rebirth. Hard to say if the moment of redemption ever really arrives, but our endless telescoping between breathtaking vistas and high-resolution detail makes purgatory feel like a haunted water ride.
Liberation Through Hearing LP is out now on Modern Love
In a video interview by Hungarian based Kultblog, British electronic techinicians Demdike Stare talk about hauntology, Spaghetti Westerns, and the dangers of allowing genres to be completely defined by their classic counterparts.
"One of the things we try to do is mix old hardware, old records, and new technology to further the genres of dance music a little more. So, techno into the future, and house into the future again... maybe 1992/1993 was the end of what you could really do with techno and house... people forget and get influenced by the early records and they don't necessarily take it to the next level." ["Stare Demdike videointerjú"; Kultblog; November 1, 2010]
Forest of Evil opened the door in April, and now, with the release of Liberation Through Hearing, UK duo Demdike Stare commune openly amongst the ruins of the afterlife. The title comes from a concept in the Tibetan Book of the Dead and alludes to the path to rebirth once struck into the murky waters of said afterlife. With Demdike's position on the darkest end of the dubstep spectrum, tottering just between beat and hauntology's most twilight passages, it seems a fair enough choice of soundtrack to fumbling through the mists of transitory life. With this release feeling much more expansive than its predecessor, curiosity is high for what the final installment holds. (via Raven Sings the Blues)
Liberation Through Hearing is out now on Modern Love