La Demeure's best moments hint at the richer and more dynamic album it could have been. The pretty arp filigree of opener "1 b palcamp rm" is ear-catching, and "cl vb 2_v2" combines ghostly hardcore nostalgia with computer-music precision in a way that echoes Lee Gamble. On "keys t," huge, emotive chords struggle free from their IDM chassis, and closer "arct 1" soothes similar glitchy percussion with dull synth pads, as if drawing a veil of sleep over a frazzled brain.
Those two tracks plot the far ends of the album's spectrum; most of the rest occupies a narrow sliver somewhere in the middle. The mulched ring mod textures of "134p78" are intriguing but too enervated to go anywhere. The likes of "verl" have plenty of energy, but it's a frantic and incoherent energy. Often, as on "713 2" or "sf rect," Lichtenberger defaults to smart but affectless somersaults. The likes of Mark Fell have given such meticulous studies a hypnotic allure, but Lichtenberger's tend to feel dry and unlovely.
In this sense, at least, La Demeure is the album it claims to be. Listening to these tracks, it's easy to imagine Lichtenberger locked up in his studio, coffee neglected on the desk, delving ever deeper into his solipsistic pursuits. Of course, what's of interest to an artist doesn't necessarily delight their listeners.