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- Wonderland by Demdike Stare
8/10 Ant Staff review, 24 November 2016
In the four years that have elapsed since Demdike Stare’s last album ‘Elements’, the Lancastrian duo of Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty released a series of seven vinyl only ‘Testpressing’ 12”s which have been gathered onto two CD’s that accompany the first edition of their latest full length ‘Wonderland’. Packaged as a deluxe 3CD set in 6-panel digifile, it seems grabbing this first edition may be the only opportunity to get those tracks on CD.
The shadowy, dark, occult leanings of previous albums have been traded for a much more fun, playful approach. Hell, they’ve even got their mugs on the sleeve.
Opening with the T++ style techno of ‘Curzon’ and the dancehall/ drum & bass mutant ‘Animal Style’ it becomes clear that they simply don’t adhere to the well worn templates of any electronic music genre, rather they bend and warp them to their own means.
‘Hardnoise’ is is like a harsher take on the Chain Reaction sound, then midway, a gloopy Reese bassline emerges alongside toucan like squawking before it transforms into a shimmering tropical house track for the rest of its duration. ‘FullEdge (eMpTy-40 Mix)’ is a tough, skewed club banger, with slivers of breakbeats and vocal samples chopped into the mix. ‘Sourcer’ is razor sharp jungle with pitched down ragga vocal fragments and leg tangling beats. Meanwhile ‘Fridge Challenge’ is something like a video recorder chewing up a Kenny Larkin VHS.
Things end on a sweet note; with the filtering, looping, cyclic dreamy ambient, almost housey vibes of ‘Overstaying’ which then briefly swerves into B-boy ambient electro.
As the title suggests, ‘Wonderland’ is colourful, traverses lots of moods, and is perhaps best consumed as a whole. Although, should you be looking to rock a party, it’d be tough not to dip into the odd DJ tool scattered here and there.
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