MODERN LOVE (LOVE068, 12” + digital)
Right now, the trend amongst those inhabiting the hard core of Modern Love is to slow down techno so much that it becomes a viscous sonic substance - sliding through the room like an insect plague. If you find that image unpleasant, wait until you hear the whole of “Facets EP”: you can say a lot of things about this single, but none of them are pleasant. Miles Whittaker (also known as or from MLZ, Millie, Pendle Coven and Demdike Stare) leaves his usual sound aside on this, his first single under his own name. It’s not that he doesn’t exercise some post-techno abstraction or esotericism, but he manages to take this deepening of difficult sounds to a new level, an uncomfortable and disorienting one. The rhythm isn’t only narcotised, like on Andy Stott’s recent “Passed Me By”, it’s also darker than dark. For example, listen to “Lustre”: the beat drags on towards an inferno of echoes and layers of static noise. It’s as hypnotic as a piece by Vladislav Delay - but it is as if, instead of using dub as an aesthetic element, he were trying to avoid ending up in Hades.
“Primer” is further proof that Miles has put all of his bad thoughts in “Facets EP”. Under a bed of watery sound you can hear, deep down, tribal rhythms and chain-like sounds: as if he were trying to re-create the hard techno sound of Sandwell District on a submarine base at the bottom of the ocean (until he surfaces as a man-fish, like Drexciya, driven by electro rhythms). “On The Fly” is another small torment, an industrial beat that drills insistently, as if Miles were daring you to endure the music without lifting the needle off the record. And on “Flawed”, possibly the best track on the record, he goes into the enchanted forest of Demdike Stare with an irregular compass - moving between up-tempo beats and the most unpleasant ambient. An uncomfortable yet tasty trip; Miles has opened a portal to a parallel modern techno dimension. It’s your decision whether you step through the door – the risk is considerable, but the satisfaction is all the greater for it.
Richard EllmannMiles - Facets by modernlove