Compressed Impression: Daniel Jones recommends Miles’ Faint Hearted
As Demdike Stare craft soundtracks for the coven, Miles Whittaker (de)constructs the disconnected experience of clubbing yourself to death, teasing and reformatting genres through black holes of analog beats.
Industrial-flavored techno is pretty much the only kind I enjoy, which means that I enjoy my doses small—too much of any one thing leads to burnouts. It also means, as I poke and prod at the genre, that I want diversity from the artists I listen to. Which is why the debut solo LP of Miles Whittaker has wound up wounding my eardrums nearly every evening since I received it. Whittaker is more likely familiar to your ears from his work crafting Demdike Stare‘s occult-drenched electronics or under his previous alias as deep’n’dark techno purveyor MLZ; on Faint Hearted, bewitched the twain meet.
The eight tracks here pass through various realms of shadow and light while the atmosphere remains tightly compressed throughout, a driving force for the feet and a crushing one for the soul. As Demdike Stare craft soundtracks for the coven, Whittaker (de)constructs the disconnected experience of clubbing yourself to death, teasing and reformatting genres through black holes of analog beats. With the crushed and blown-out hardcore junglisms of “Lebensform”, the minimal sine-pulse of “Status Narcissism” (and if you’ve ever been to a minimal techno party, you’ll find the name apt), the clanging metallic distance of “Rejoice” spiralling down the drain of your ear, and the thoughtful orchestration/elastic industrial grind of “Archaic Thought Pattern 1”, Whittaker neatly presents a selection of themes celebrating the electronic music fan’s ritual of Going Out, as seen through a mind distorted by substances and dance floor overdose—influenced, perhaps, by Whittaker’s adopted home of Berlin, where people will happily sit and talk about Berghain and drugs for several lifetimes. Moments of beauty peer through the grayness, but this is not a pretty album by any means; after all, it’s not always a pretty lifestyle.
Interspersed with mind-wandering ambience, Faint Hearted’s propulsion is slow-burning enough to allow you to focus on atmosphere (as heavy as it might be) and composition, such as on the drifting warmth of “Sense Data”, a tightly-stretched beat laid over washes of drone, or the brief and claustrophobic noise of “Queuing”, sudden and startling before the sunrise closure that “Loran Dreams” brings to the evening. Through Whittaker’s array of influences, it evokes various aspects of dance, bass, and noise music in a way that makes it feel entirely immediate, while being familiar enough to remind one of the hedonism of nights past…and those to come.
Faint Hearted is out now via Modern Love. Stream the full album below.
Published April 16, 2013. Words by Daniel Jones.