Demdike Stare, Symbiosis

Photo by Gaskell

[Modern Love]

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Brrr, did anyone else just feel the temperature drop a few degrees? Autumn is on the way and the days are getting shorter, but there’s no doubt Symbiosis adds to the gloomier atmosphere. A collaboration between Miles Whittaker (aka MLZ and one half of Pendle Coven) and Sean Canty, Demdike Stare draws on a range of influences to create a subdued yet menacing collection of mood music. There’s an underlying sense of dread audible here, with Whittaker’s love of sampling obscure music — something Canty probably enjoys too — giving Symbiosis a familiar yet eerie feeling. The fact that the project’s name, like Pendle Coven, references witchcraft and the supernatural, and is accompanied by album artwork featuring skulls, white roses and a lone eye suspended under a woman’s wig while an arm holds what looks like either a small wand or a big needle, only adds to the occultish theme.

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A snail’s pace bass pulse is swathed in mysterious tones and textures on “Suspicious Drone” and “Regressor,” while spooky notes similar to the unforgettable “Hallow’een” theme tune provide the main hook on “All Hallow’s Eve.” With its resonating, ebb and flow of bass tones, “Extwistle Hall” veers into outright spooky territories. However, it would be disingenuous to suggest Demdike Stare are merely indulging a desire to knock off a cheap horror movie soundtrack. Counteracting the atmospheric sound scapes is the North African bazaar rhythms and sounds of “Trapped Dervish” or the positively bubbly house groove and dramatic Hitchcock-esque strings of “Jannisary.” Despite this, the underlying feeling is sombre and downbeat and Symbiosis never approaches what could be even loosely described as upbeat music. Indeed, as soon as the more lively elements dissipate, the listener is confronted with the dead paced drums of “Nothing but the Night” and “Conjoined” as somewhere on a mist-filled moor in north England, a group of unblemished girls in purple gowns start the pre-sacrificial dance.

Sedu3000  on October 23, 2009 at 6:51 PM
Made Like a Tree  on October 30, 2009 at 8:20 PM

This release is FREAKING awesome! Thanks for covering it and also for the updated Thaemlitz interview. TIP! <3


uberVU - social comments  on October 24, 2009 at 11:20 PM

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by lilwhiteearbuds: Richard Brophy attests that with Symbiosis, Demdike Stare “creates a subdued yet menacing collection of mood music.”…

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