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The Monthly List: May’s Top 8

nsa_bannerI listened to more techno in May than I did in the previous four months combined. The new Miles EP started it and Plastikman kept it going. Three records doesn’t sound like much, but for me it’s a virtual flood.

There’s a few carry overs from last month, and besides the Miles records, just three new releases; two are reissues and two are Jason Molina related. Of them, the Anonymous record on Machu Picchu got the most play.

As always, formats posted are the ones I own. Others may be available. If you like any of the samples I link to, please buy the album. You can find numerous retailers carrying these titles at the bottom of this page.

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Review: Miles, “Unsecured”

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.

Unsecured is available on Modern Love
Review published at
Listen to the entire EP here:

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Listen: Miles, “Faint Hearted”

image via Fact Mag

image via Fact Mag

Faint Hearted, the Modern Love debut from Miles Whittaker, has been posted to Soundcloud in its entirety for absolutely free. As far as I know, Faint Hearted is sold out almost everywhere, at least in its 2LP form. Digital copies can still be purchased via Boomkat. But check out the free preview for now. I suspect more copies will be pressed.

Whittaker—aka DJ Miles, Suum Cuique, Pendle Coven, one half of Demdike Stare, et al.—has a new EP out too, also on Modern Love. Called Unsecured, it’s disappearing from shelves just as quickly as the full-length did. In the US, copies may still be available via Forced Exposure, otherwise you’ll have to search online or visit your favorite local record shop to find it, something you should probably do more often anyway.

I think the EP is amazing—even better than the full-length album, which is winning praise far and wide. This year Miles is one of the only techno-producing musicians completely winning me over. Listening now, Faint Hearted sounds better than I remember.

Check him out.