Back in March, I stumbled across a rather intriguing 12” by Demdike Stare housed in a generic paper test pressing sleeve. The disc was pressed on clear vinyl and the bag also contained an insert featuring a rather fetching monochrome geometric design by Alex Solman. The A side track ‘Collision’ pits furious Amen breaks against hovering high frequency transmissions held aloft by blunted subs whilst ‘misappropriation’ on the flip presents itself as a simmering bed of mechanised noise overlaid with metallic percussion. This was marvellous stuff but I was left wanting to hear more of these intriguing audio experiments despite their eight minute running times.
And then a few weeks later a second disc appeared, housed in the same utilitarian packaging but this time pressed on transparent blue wax. Lead off track ‘Grows Without Bound’ is a slow burning exercise in richly textured distorted analogue grind but the killer side here is ‘Primitive Equations’ which begins its ascent as a mesh of chattering whispers bouncing around the mix for a few minutes before being joined by a fabulously old skool drum ‘n’ bass break wrapped up in wafts of synth. At around the halfway mark, a twisted vocal sample drops into the fray and quickly resolves itself as the whole track coalesces into a locked groove coda. Once again, eight minutes just wasn’t enough and so I’m now hoping that more instalments are added to the series.
Both releases contain several recognisable elements of the UK’s embryonic drum ‘n’ bass/rave culture but these cues are sufficiently re-contextualised and bent out of shape to avoid any accusations of lazy pastiche. After many listens I can’t help but feel that these four tracks are the noisier, more feral cousins of Lee Gamble’s astonishing Diversions 1994-1996 set from last year.
The only negative to consider here is that these fine discs were only issued as part of a limited run of vinyl and are now completely sold out at source. I have no idea if there are any plans to produce a standard reissue on CD or digital download but it’s well worth keeping your eyes open should that be the case. I’m all for labels continuing to produce such collectable artefacts but consideration should be given to those who miss out – eBay be damned!
Taking these 12”s and the recent ‘Weight of Culture’ mixtape (here) into account, it sounds like 2013 may well yield plenty more high quality output from Messrs Canty and Whittaker.