Opening track "Black Sun" sets the tone perfectly: featuring nothing more than a low end hum, it emits the occasional crackle to let the listener know that some kind of life form is controlling it. If "Black Sun" hints at the grey zone between our world and the supernatural, then "Hashshashin Chant" represents something more grisly as layered chanting and frenetic drums soundtrack the preparations for an assassination.
From there onwards, the tempo reverts to dead pace, but the mood remains the same. "Decay & Shadows" is full of wobbly bass and noisy FX, like the way the chitter-chatter of an approaching group of people reverberates across a walled yard, while "Rain & Shame" plays on the same idea, ambient noise building as half-heard voices mutter in the background.
Despite this love of found sounds and field recordings, there are some concession towards musicality: "Repository of Light," which starts with the same electric hum as "Black Sun," morphs into something approaching a downtempo melancholic techno track, its atmospheric chords making it sound like a ghostly cousin of "At Les." "Desert Ascetic" sees the duo try their hand at freeform jazz, with crashing drums and plinky plonk keys prevailing.
However, these are only temporary steps out of the (dis)comfort zone and Demdike Stare seem most comfortable when creating uneasy listening soundtracks like "A Tale of Sand" or the death-march dirge of "Viento de Levante." Like a baby with a sixth finger or a bearded lady, Demdike Stare are out on their own, a freakish curiosity for sure, but one that invites inquisitive ears and questioning listeners.