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Album Review

Like Demdike Stare's Tryptych and Andy Stott's Passed Me By/We Stay Together before it, Elemental is another over-sized two-disc package from the Modern Love label. It compiles Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker's four-part vinyl series dating from December 2011 and January 2012. The first two parts, Chrysanthe and Violetta, were issued together as a double 12" pack in a gatefold sleeve with slots for parts three and four, Iris and Rose. All three releases were 1000-copy pressings. Four of the 12 tracks from the series — namely "Kommunion," "Unction," "In the Wake of Cronos," and "Falling Off the Edge" — appear here in alternate form, while just over half-an-hour of exclusive, bonus content is added. From track to track, there is not much in the way of cohesion. Instead, there's scene after scene of dark energy that is either foreboding or violent, with the duo equally adept at constructing swarming drones and frantic percussion-heavy pieces. Each track provides its own set of thrills; if there's one track that exemplifies the set, it's "Erosion of Mediocrity," where a sour drone is gradually joined by a clanking industrial rhythm, caustic strings, and swarming liquid probes that seem to coagulate and peak in tension just prior to vanishing. There's no need for Canty and Whittaker's approach to evolve or develop, not when they have a seemingly bottomless well of evocative sounds from which to draw and shape. Harrowing, riveting stuff. They're in an increasingly crowded field but hover well above all of their contemporaries.


Formed: 2009 in Lancashire, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Demdike Stare were founded in 2009 in Manchester, England by two well-known characters from that city's music scene. Miles Whittaker, half of the respected dub techno duo Pendle Coven, has also recorded under the monikers MLZ and Daughter of the Industrial Revolution. Sean Canty is a renowned vinyl obsessive who worked at the label Finders Keepers and could often be found digging in the crates of local record shops for rare wax nuggets. His collection of obscure '60s funk and soul records formed...
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Elemental, Demdike Stare
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