Demdike Stare: Symbiosis
Modern Love

Symbiosis finds Demdike Stare, a collaborative project involving mates Miles Whittaker (aka Pendle Coven and MLZ member) and crate-digger Sean Canty, exploring an oft-menacing dub-inflected style that's at times reminiscent of Shackleton's tracks. (Whittaker took the name Pendle Coven from Pendle Hill in north-east Lancashire, an area famous for its 1612 witch trials where ten suspected witches, including Elizabeth Southerns, better known as Demdike, were executed.) What distinguishes the Demdike Stare sound from any similarly-minded brethren is the duo's incorporation of Iranian, Turkish, and West Indian materials into its array of dub, ambient, industrial, tribal, and dub-techno templates.

The fifty-five minute collection segues from one style to another, with some tracks rhythm-based viral dub workouts and others soundscapes of the diseased and viral kind. “Suspicious Drone” opens the album with an industrial soundscape that drenches its metallic reverberations and pulsations in cavernous echo; equally evocative, “All Hallows Eve” weaves wind swirls, wailing spirits, and gloomy sound design into a chamber of horrors, while the dark ambient settings “Extwistle Hall” and “Ghostly Hardware” prove to be just as haunted. At the livelier end of the spectrum, “Haxan Dub” nails its crackling textures and opiated vibe to the ground with a dub bass line, “Nothing But the Night” offers a spectral fusion of dub and IDM, and “Jannisary” conjoins a heavy Congolese groove to a stabbing Middle Eastern string motif. The set's most energized track and also one of its strongest, “Haxan” springs to life with a pumping dub-techno rumble that could make Deepchord and Soultek envious.

October 2009