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Miles – Facets review

The latest release on Modern Love is the work of label stalwart Miles Whittaker, who has released under the MLZ moniker and as one half of both Pendle Coven and Demdike Stare. Despite the fact that he has reverted to his first name, there is no mistaking the UK producer’s production style. Leaning more towards Demdike Stare than his other dancefloor material, Facets teems with life, each track a veritable treasure trove of sounds, ideas and moods. Of course given that it draws inspiration from – and in some place directly invokes – the spirit of Whittaker and Canty’s witch-loving Demdike Stare project, it is no surprise that the prevailing mood is dark, eerie and even sometimes downright menacing.

“Flawed” sets the tone with splintered break beats scattered across an ambient soundtrack that flickers in a half-light before darkness envelopes it. Like the Demdike releases, “Lustre” suggests that the direction may be about to change and offers some concessions towards a lighter mood, as a warm bass and more plaintive chords echo and ebb across its spacious arrangement. Just like the last Demdike album, it proves to be a temporary diversion. It’s followed by “Primer”, where the kind of unquantized tribal drums that underscored Whittaker and partner Canty’s ode to the hashassins, “Hashshashin Chant”, roll in like thunder. Finally, “On The Fly” sees Whittaker focus on shifting tonal frequencies, underpinned by a rhtyhm that starts at a dead pace and speeds up to infinity. It’s a fittingly offbeat finale in this latest compelling release from one of the UK’s great techno eccentrics.

Richard Brophy