After releasing a pair of 2009 vinyl EPs -- swiftly combined on compact disc as Symbiosis -- Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker remained industrious, issuing three titles in small vinyl pressings in 2010. Forest of Evil (April) presented two expansive and unsettling sound collages of swarming drones, rattling techno, and threatening tribal percussion. On the six-track/45-minute Liberation Through Hearing (July), Pole’s gentle dub crackle was pitched into a warehouse blaze, and the percolating bubbles from Herbie Hancock's “Rain Dance” were transformed into burbling radioactive goo.
In a way, 2010 was the year of the triptych. Robyn, the electro-pop Swede, staged a European comeback and American invasion over just six months with her three-part Body Talk series. Joanna Newsom got herself to Carnegie Hall on the strength of Have One on Me, an improbably bountiful three-disc trove of harp folk. And of course, there’s James Blake, whose three incredible (and incredibly distinct) EPs of yesteryear made his name and served as the perfect prelude to a strong contender for one of 2011’s best albums.
Demdike Stare is a collaboration between a techno DJ/producer and a dedicated crate-digger for Finders Keepers, one of those boutiquey Euro labels that issues albums of Czech cult-horror soundtracks and Persian funk under gonzo banners like "20 vintage slices of Cymraeg Soft Psych and Welsh Kosmic Pop. " The particular digger in question, Sean Canty, was once referred to by Fact magazine as one of Manchester's "best-known record collectors," which is illustrative of the company we're in: People who not only rate records, but rate their collectors. Canty's partner, Miles Whittaker, has been been an associate of Manchester's Modern Love records for nearly 10 years, primarily sticking around the kind of eerie, minimal techno that production groups like Basic Channel developed in the 1990s.
Paranoia, not terror, is the primary timbre of Demdike Stare’s Triptych. The group, made up of Sean Canty (head of archival label Finders Keepers) and Miles Whittaker (who is involved with other Modern Love outfits like MLZ and Pendle Coven), seem in interviews and in write-ups to be amongst those in the past few years who are imagining a non-goth response to horror (films, fiction and particularly soundtracks) and the occult. Their name derives from a 16th century witch who stood trial at 80 years old.