Demdike Stare reunite with guitarist Jon Collin for a new album of concréte dreamweaving performed on tape, pedals and a homemade Swedish nyckelharpa - a type of keyed fiddle. More psychedelic than either of the trio's previous records, 'Minerals' drops the blues to dive headfirst into the smudged folk wellspring, touching on the pastoral ambience of Andrew Chalk via Loren Connors’ immersive drift and Tongue Depressor's subterranean drone expeditions.
With the trio all hailing from the Pennine moorlands just above the manc sprawl, Jon Collin & Demdike Stare’s shared musical expression understandably reflects a parallax purview that follows leylines between lusher nooks of the inner city and windswept, barren landscapes. Never ones to play it straight, the Swedish Nyckelharpa - a sort of hybrid viola/hurdy gurdy - is deployed deep into a mix of oblique soundscaping, seeping into a swirl of field recordings, screwed spoken word and phosphorescent drones pinging with tape delay.
Split into two distinct sides, the album opens with a scrape of wood and metal that introduces us to the nyckelharpa. Scratching its surface and strings, Collin reveals its peculiar tonality, while Demdike cut through its dissonant textures. Like ancient campfire rituals recorded to decaying 1/4" tape, the music on ‘Minerals’ feels as if it's in dialog with the past, shuttled into the present by abstract processes. By the side’s third act, resonant gongs billow around pitched wails that eventually collapse into silence.
The second side is more spirited, opening with a thumbed kalimba cut through reverberant strings that recall Arthur Russell's iconic echo-drenched recordings. Through elaborate concréte techniques, Collin's ancient fiddle dissolves into a ferric gloop that’s slowly pulled apart like toffee, taking it to a place where you can no longer really tell what you’re listening to or how it was made. In fact, unlike pretty much everything we’ve heard from Demdike before, the material here feels mechanical rather than electronic, making for one of the most impactful, unusual releases in the vast sprawl of their catalogue thus far.