Demdike Stare – “Fail” & “Null Results”

Demdike Stare has fairly quietly released a handful of 12″ singles this year. They always come in the factory default sleeve you see above, all simply titled “Test Pressing” and separated by a number. These releases have been some of the most exciting electronic music of the year, dense sprawling tracks as terrifying as they are propulsive. Now, after a teaser we saw a few weeks ago, it looks like they saved the best for last. Testpressing #004 begins with the ominous slow burn of “Fail,” building around a steady 4/4 pulse and wailing industrial sounds. It sounds like house music reserved for the darkest and hottest part of hell. It’s a classic-sounding Demdike track, but in no way prepares you for what follows.

Over the years Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty have proven themselves to be masters of build and release. It’s why Demdike Stare albums can push past the 2 1/2 hour mark and keep you invested, and it makes sense that they would follow “Fail” with something livelier. Here’s the thing though, even going in with that knowledge nothing can really prepare you just for how fucking hard “Null Results” hits. They’ve experimented with jungle and breakbeats this year, but never like this. For eight explosive minute Whittaker and Canty push their sound harder, faster, and heavier than ever. Hi-hats hit like machine guns over sub-bass haymakers that could make Shaking The Habitual sound like “Heartbeats.” Even the breakdown midway through is filled with moments where they threateningly whip the beat back at you, until they finally make good on it, leading to dizzying, explosive finish.

Testpressing #004 is out now via Modern Love.