Thursday, December 8, 2011

Demdike Stare (#8, 2010)

In some significant ways, 2010 was "The Year of Demdike Stare" for me. Very early on, I was hooked by a Hot Offer on a limited-edition CD called Osmosis (like £6 at Boomkat!). It turned out even better than the typically-glowing Boomkat description, and through the year, they just kept coming. Terrific free online mixes (#3), another excellent full-CD mix release (Industrial Desert), a year-long trilogy of vinyl records... and the pièce de résistance at the end - the best of the full-length 1-tracks: a collaboration with Anworth Kirk, Samhain Slant Azimuth!

After much searching, I found it on the internet - listen whilst you can. Samhain Slant Azimuth is the most horror movie soundtrack-styled one, with creepy terror moods... a "seasonal sound-collage mix," as Boomkat called it. That season is Hallowe'en! Or maybe Devil's Night. Here's some streaming/download video/audio of Anworth & Demdike live-DJ podcastin'.

"Caged in Stammheim" by Demdike Stare, from Liberation through Hearing (2010)

Each release and mix has its own character, although they're all made from a mix of similar elements - ambient electronics, Eastern musics, noir jazz, minimal rhythm music techniques, some drone-some noise-some psych, a haunting mood and a soundtrack approach, obscure source audio blended seamlessly with original material.

Industrial Desert
Osmosis is the most electronic dark ambient hauntology of the three, although with some soundtrack funkiness. Industrial Desert is the most (Middle) Eastern of the mixes, with some exotica-tinged jazziness.

"Hashshashin Chant" by Demdike Stare, from Voices of Dust (2010)

Honestly it shouldn't work so well, cooking up a stew of idiosyncratic interests and releasing most of it as hour-long tracks. Which is exactly why the success of the experiment - let alone the consistency - blows me away. The only exception being the confusing first chapter of the vinyl trilogy, Forest of Evil [full album on SoundCloud]. It's a 2-track EP, whereas the other two are multiple-tune LP's. It's significantly thinner-sounding and more rhythm-focused than the rest. I just haven't been able to figure out how it fits into the puzzle with the other two, but something weird's going on.

"Dawn" [NSFW!!] by Demdike Stare, from Forest of Evil (2010)

Something weird is definitely going on... Anyway, this series just kept getting better, with (like the mix CD's) the last one being the best. But you might want to just wait for the 3xCD Tryptych release in January 2011 - with bonus mats!! (Bonus tracks are real good.)

"Bardo Thodol" by Demdike Stare, from Liberation through Hearing (2010)

So part two really gets things going, Liberation through Hearing [full album on SoundCloud] brings in more tunes with more punch. Although still with the same vibe of dark forboding. A lot of the music could just be intro's, interludes, and codas for actual "songs," so the records ebb and flow and drift around. Trip out to stoormi kläuds and "Matilda's Dream," the closing epic of the second chapter.

"Rain and Shame" by Demdike Stare, from Voices of Dust (2010)

It's a tough call, but I'm giving the slight nod to Voices of Dust [full album on SoundCloud] over Liberation. The final chapter continues doing everything right, with just a few more tracks that I find myself going back to. Like the completely epic "Repository of Light" or this non-embeddable video for "A Tale of Sand."

The 3xCD set Tryptych was released on January 20th. While I'm glad I had the 3 LP's last year, I'm also very happy that I bought the collection. Six substantial new tracks are added to everything else, and it's a super-nice and handy package. You can even buy it domestically from Forced Exposure (or even Amazon USA, if you must) - which I strongly suggest for anyone interested in the dark arts of electronical music!

Forest of Evil

Genre - Dark Ambient
Official/Myspace -
Location - Lancashire, UK

Review - Resident Advisor
SoundCloud (stream) - on Modern Love
Download - Boomkat
Purchase - Forced Exposure (US), Boomkat (UK)

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