REVIEW: Demdike Stare – Wonderland LP
Loyal jungle head fans of Demdike Stare, have been waiting nearly five years for a new full-length by the digital obsessed duo (i.e. Sean Canty & Miles Whittaker), and we weren’t disappointed at all, by the recent offering ‘Wonderland’ released on the 2nd December.
Demdike Stare, named after one of the infamous Pendle witches of the 17th century, was formed in 2009, and since then, drawing from a strong background, the Manchester-based outfit have presented some quite enticing music experiences, ever following a nonconforming signature style.
Elemental, the previous Demdike Stare LP, was released in February 2012. It was a compilation of four EPs: Chrysanthe, Violetta, Rose and Iris. Despite the explicit quality of these sounds, the album was not critically well received, plausibly due to a certain lack of focus.
Enough with the witch hunt. Wonderland, a nine-track release out now via Modern Love, mixes a number of dancefloor variants, in line with the recent Demdike Stare much-praised project, Testpressings, issued on 12’’ in the period 2013-2015. This association is further confirmed by the inclusion of the entire series, Testpressings #001- #007, in the deluxe six-panel digifile of the Wonderland CD version, as Testpressungen.
In Wonderland, the experimental duo delivers a coherent, club-ready soundscape, floating from concrete techno vibes to striking jungle rhythms and elegant ambient beats, in a bewitching result. Wonderland’s solid compositions go far beyond the attraction to the abnormal or plain and simple feral weirdness. Unlike Elemental, there is an apparent sense of continuity across the whole LP, adding more gravity to the music exploration and thus the advantage of some breathing space on special surprises and interconnections.
A dancefloor essential and definitely the most mature work by Demdike Stare to this day, Wonderland is among the most intriguing electronic albums of the year.
Hmmm, how does it go again? “TAP Flight 3814 to Brasilia now boarding gate 28”? Yes, please. Off to Wonderland.
Demdike Stare – Sourcer:
(Words by Marw Kouvatsou)