A Little Night Music: Demdike Stare

Turn off all the lights, get under the covers, put on your best pair of headphones, and listen… if you dare:

Via Aaron Shinn (whose own fantastic work definitely deserves a Coilhouse writeup ASAP).

Demdike Stare is an occult-tinged music collaboration between Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty, two highly knowledgeable fellows from Manchester, each with a versatile background in DJing, record collecting and curating. Author Mike Powell’s review of Demdike Stare’s Triptych –one of the most interesting write-ups Pitchfork has posted recently– covers Whittaker’s and Canty’s work and history, both as a team, and separately. From that same review:

Demdike Stare is primarily a sample-based project, and “dark” is its organizing principle. Their logo is a skull, rose, and triangle; the cover of one of their EPsĀ  is a visual riff on a Ouija board; and they’re named after a 17th-century witch– a quasi-gothic, English variation on the sci-fi and horror imagery that has saturated the American underground over the past couple of years. The tracks on Tryptych are droning and nightmarish: lots of close murmuring and distant wind, lots of groaning earth and quietly whining steam-powered machines, glassy techno keyboards and the buried wailing of undefined tribes. But like some drone (and most minimal techno) there’s usually a build or a climax, and one of the most consistently satisfying things about listening to Tryptych is that it takes music you might expect to be purely ambient and shapes it into something with a hump somewhere in the middle– something with a narrative to it.

Cover for Demdike Stare’s Forest of Evil EP. Buy their CDs and MP3s at Amazon or Insound.

There’s a captivating visual element to Demdike Stare as well– to accentuate their live shows, the band often projects footage lifted from a wide range of classic horror and giallo films, spaghetti westerns, and thrillers onto the wall behind them, then mixes live beats and samples into their tracks to match those visuals. Additionally, Demdike Stare’s listeners have come up with with several captivating fan videos, many of which are included in the above playlist [and are not entirely SFW, mind you], along with a great interview with Whittaker and Canty, for those interested in learning more about the team’s process. Or, if you’d prefer to keep things more mysterious, skip the interview, and just let yourself be swept away by the enigmatic loveliness of the music and presentation.

Previously on Coilhouse:

4 Responses to “A Little Night Music: Demdike Stare”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    As a matter o’ fact I already had turned off all the lights and was under the covers as I saw this post. Great music! I’m either too goth :p or am desensitized because the music video wasn’t creepy at all. Good though! Haha!

  2. Paul Komoda Says:

    Actually, the video really managed to worm it’s way under my skin quite effectively, since the visuals belong to a certain era and style that I associate with childhood( film inspired )distress. Those colors!

    Great track by these guys; I’m hungry for more.
    Though I don’t think that image of that flailing Indonesian demon is going to dislodge from my thoughts any time soon.

  3. Klytus Says:

    This makes my want to go watch El Topo

  4. luminous_insect Says:

    awesome musical chops mer! this is quite the merriest hybrids of spookie genres since The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. with visions to boot.