Black Dice – Repo
Paw Tracks (2009)
There is a giant castle somewhere made entirely of luridly coloured plasticine. Located in the shade of a palm tree on some deserted tropical island, its walls flex and shift in the heat and its dough like form pops occasionally like bubblegum. Its multicoloured walls are constantly mating; slipping into and out of each other’s grasp in a lazy fashion that confuses the eye.
Black Dice live somewhere in the bowels of this castle, surrounded by keyboards and sequencers that are slowly melting in the sun. They love the sunshine of their surroundings but deep down they’re terrified of never being rescued. So they send out SOS signals on steel drums, bang together sticks and dance around bonfires chanting like Indians. Yes, that’s the sound of Black Dice.
Over four albums and numerous collaborative releases Black Dice have travelled from guitar based noise merchants, to abstract sound collage. Repo, their fifth album, continues their recent explorations of rhythm but merges this with the comforting audio environments of their debut Beaches and Canyons. The tracks on Repo are noticeably shorter and wound more tightly. Black Dice sound confident and focused; none of these songs meander.
Long time listeners may be put off by the cleaner sound, but with a little perseverance they’ll realise the trip is no less obscure. The elastic bass lines, sunny guitars and chopped up vocals are all present, they’re just wrapped around funk-based rhythms aimed at your feet. Ambience is kept to a minimum, instead Black Dice keep the party going and going and going. Like a disco where the Chemical Brothers are steering the wheels of steel while fucked up on Quaaludes and Andy Warhol’s face is melting on the dance floor at Studio 54. Which isn’t a bad trip at all.