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Elemental

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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.

Customer Reviews

Headphone Commute Review

By now Demdike Stare is more than just an occult new project from Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty. In the last couple of years, since the initial release of Symbiosis (2009) followed by Voices Of Dust (2010), Liberation Through Hearing (2010) and Forest Of Evil (2010), the duo has swept the music scene off of its seemingly stable base with a collection of dark ambient, experimental, and crate-digger’s delightful tunes. The collage of sounds gathered, treated, and re-spun in every single release has gained critical acclaim across a range of genre specific output, at times yielding its very own – hauntology.

Elemental is a series that is split into four parts: the first two parts, Chrysanthe and Violetta, are released together in 2011; and the last two, Rose and Iris, are sold and released separately in 2012, each pressed on a limited colored vinyl and available together in a double CD. The sounds of Elemental are even darker than the predecessor, Tryptych, series. Something supernatural, opaque and ghastly crawls beneath the crackling surface of the record, slithering like a fuzzy centipede inside your ear canal.

The haunting ambiance of Elemental will scare even the angriest ghosts away, shattering their fragile bones with the growling bass, and piercing the eye sockets with deadly shrapnel of sound. While concrete percussion seems to be absent, there’s a skeleton of techno and even dubstep rhythm filled with hypnotic, ethnic and exotic elements. A beautiful addition to the celebrated catalog of obscure, esoteric and collectible sound.

Modern Love wants to point out that the material on the vinyl edition is altered from the double CD version compiling the series. This unique cutting contains some hidden locked grooves and specially commissioned artwork by Andy Votel. Highly recommended along with previous releases from Whittaker and Canty! Check out Headphone Commute review of Tryptych.

Biography

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...
Full Bio
Elemental, Demdike Stare
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