Demdike Stare Credit: Courtesy the artist

During the early era of Demdike Stare, the Manchester duo of Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker didn’t bother with subtlety in cultivating their mystique. Their interest in horror and the occult was reflected in their album-cover art, their name (appropriated from a 17th-century English witch), and their experimental live performances, which were augmented by dark, menacing visuals assembled from obscure films. It all went quite well with the ominous qualities of their ambient sound, which is sometimes eclectic in its sampling of unearthed subgenres and sometimes dead still, hinting at the kind of paranoia you might feel if you were alone downstairs in an old-world house and heard a creak from a floorboard above you. Though last year’s Wonderland (Modern Love) keeps to the path they’ve been treading the last couple of years—less soundscape driven, more beat oriented—and though their techno bent on a track like “Hardnoise” conjures a dystopian future rather than a haunted past, Demdike Stare are still keen on making the hairs jump right off the back of your neck. Swirling, often haphazard glitches and stuttering breakbeats dominate the record, with perhaps its best track, “Animal Style,” proving the duo is plenty adept at creating a chilling, jagged dance cut.   v