Miles: Faint Hearted (Modern Love)
Miles Whittaker may be better known as one half of the fringe electronic duo Demdike Stare, but his solo music is every bit as engaging and unique. In his second solo outing, Miles continues exploring the odd melange of sounds that characterized his Facets EP in 2011. There are references to techno, electro, ambient, and industrial music in various permutations that are often unexpected and oddly juxtaposed. Opening track “Lebensform” is somewhat of a raucous palate cleanser — it’s harsh, rhythmic, and raw, like a nod to Throbbing Gristle’s heyday with its cyclical cacophony. It’s an odd selection out the gate, because the rest of the album doesn’t really sound much like it, but it speaks to the often contrasting aspects of his aesthetic, often juxtaposing smooth sounds and airy pads with harsh, grimy rhythmic elements. It’s galloping cascade of filtered drums is somewhat of a palate cleanser before diving into more subdued material from there. “Irreligious” channels the underwater techno of Drexciya with a murky density, but he navigates the contrast between warm and cold elsewhere with tracks like “Sense Data,” “Archaic Thought Pattern 1,” and “Loran Dreams.” “Archaic Thought Pattern 1” in particular reprises some of the raucous noise of “Lebensform,” perhaps tipping its hat toward Demdike Stare terrain more overtly. It’s certainly a mixed bag of sounds and styles, but the grit of his aesthetic remains consistent across all of these tracks, whether they veer toward minimal techno or something more industrial or haunting ambience. Fans of Demdike Stare will likely enjoy the techno-tinged atmosphere of Faint Hearted, another quality release in his repertoire.