Demdike Stare – ‘Testpressing#007: Rathe / Patchwork’ 12″ [Modern Love]

Launching sometime in 2013, Demdike Stare’s Testpressing series was a revelatory smack in the face with the first few drops, and consistently good ever since. Shaking off their reputation as experimental hauntological soundscape creators (which we loved incidentally), the duo of Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker grabbed the club sound of London by the balls and injected in a new attitude with stunning sound quality.

Across the last seven releases they’ve worked over jungle, techno, footwork and even slowed down beat-joints, bringing some unique aesthetic to every single joint. These guys know how to produce a sound like no one else; analogue vibes and all encompassing, purity traits that only come with experience.

Sad then that the series might be ending with this release, but that’s the nature of Demdike Stare and the producers behind it. These guys will never get bogged down on one tip, and they’re good enough that whatever they come back with will knock us around in the same way time and time again.

So here we are at Testpressing #007 and it’s got to be one of the best. Two six-and-half minute tunes that move int he same direction from opposite sides of the spectrum. ‘Rather’ is the producer’s track. The air puffs and drawn out wobbly synth notes that were core to their sound on the early Demdike Stare records return, but here they sound downright dark and brutal. The slowed down amen rhythm kick helps to give the impression of the tracks being sped up, and about halfway through the cymbals and snare join, some sort of weird amalgamation of jungle had it been influenced by DJ Krush.

On the flip things are more crowded, and less subtle, but equally effective, the track ‘Patchwork’ is just fucking mindblowing. So brutal and classy with a garage pitched hook manipulated in to a stuttering jungle-juke destroyer. And in case you’re wondering who that vocal is, it’s Caron Wheeler, sampled from Soul II Soul’s ‘Back To Life’, which, incidentally, you can check out as an acapella here:

The track that starts off sounding like Burial and then throws in rewinds, dead-drops and vocal juggles, slowly building until the warm garage bass flows relentlessly creating something between Shed and Wookie. Absolute heat.

And with the that the series is complete, but worth noting that this is the 99th release on Modern Love, LOVE099. Such an important label to us, can’t wait to see what the next hundred releases bring.