Miles Whittaker can’t be stopped. As one-half of Demdike Stare, as Suum Cuique, and now as Miles, he has released a string of records that have vanished almost as soon as they have appeared. Unsecured follows his first full-length under the Miles moniker, rounding out its low-key tones and subdued colors with four coarse and heavy techno productions. Like his other records, it’s also likely to disappear soon—and for good reason.
Faint Hearted, Whittaker’s first full-length for Modern Love as Miles, was sold out and unavailable almost before it was released. On it, atmosphere and dusty effects take precedence over melody; and stiff, sputtering rhythms—that remind me of Plastikman’s “Spastik” —constitute the music’s driving force. There aren’t many hooks and there isn’t much to dance to, but the album’s quiet magic won me over with repeat plays. It was the first techno record to win me over this year.
Unsecured is the second, and it blows Faint Hearted out of the water. It leaps out of the gate with “Blatant Statement,” an explosive production propelled by sizzling percussion and a slippery 303 pattern catchier than anything on the full length. Miles beefs it up with the kind of cold synthesizer chords I’m absolute sucker for and keeps the tension running high for the next six minutes. The song doesn’t stop so much as it falls over. The melody sputters and trips, and falls head over heels.
The momentum carries into “Technocracy” —a cooler, but still forward moving dub track with an off-kilter rhythm and a hip-commanding low end— and on to the second side, where “Infinite Jest” erupts with a massive four-on-the-floor rhythm and a synth lead almost dirty enough for Pan Sonic. There is nothing subtle about it. It just pounds away for seven and a half minutes in full-on caveman glory.
“Plutocracy” winds the EP down with a darker atmosphere and some more of those cold synthesizer chords. This time they actually cool things off, as the record ends to the sound of their ominous moaning. But I’d honestly rather hear more like the first three songs. Faint Hearted is a good record for chilling out. Unsecured is great because it rocks so damn hard.