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Previously New Yorkers Black Dice have had a fearsome reputation as purveyors of extreme sonic assault. But the mood here is much more relaxed than the previous album Beaches and Canyons. This is...mellow. Simple guitar figures weave away gently while a variety of machines burp, belch, twitter, shriek and talk to each other.
The sounds they use are very raw, but are given lots of space to breathe. You feel that what you are hearing is natural, organic. The track "Creature" is well named. Its like listening to the heartbeat of some huge, mythical amphibian, while you lounge on the bottom of the sea bed, while "Skeleton" features some gentle shamanic chanting.
Their use of stereo is simple but very effective. Sounds and textures bounce from extreme right to extreme left, setting up a call and response effect. Natural percussion (they use a conventional kit, no drum machines), and pulses are put in the middle. It's the kind of balance you would use for a rock band: bass and drums in the middle, guitars on the left and right. As a familiar sonic picture, it doesn't mess with your head. The distorted bass frequencies and gritty trebly loops do that.
Its only on the two final tracks "Schwip Schwap" and "Night Flight" that things get nasty, where the machines start to fight each other with dirty, explosive bursts of sound. "Night Flight" sounds like angry seagulls circling overhead.
Whatever their mood, Black Dice always sound like themselves and no one else. On balance I just prefer Beaches And Canyons, simply because I like extreme noise. But this is a thoroughly enjoyable and even relaxing listen. --Nick Reynolds
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Top customer reviews
in other words, its totally different to beaches and canyons. this time there seems to be a more relaxed and chilled approach. the band are as loose as can be, yet the structure is still there. The stunning track on here is creature. during the eight miutes, this track goes from basic electronica topounding tribal drums to purring animals and the rustling of branches. its like the soudtrack to a jungle treck, yet its not at the same time. and like all black dice releases, its so so organic. somehow its not right, but somehow its totally perfect. with each release black dice seem to be hurtling closer and closer towards the sky...not looking where they are going, always arriving in the wrong place and direction, yet somehow quite satisfied with the music that has emerged along the way.
and i think thats really clever...
This may be the band's strongest release to date. It must still be said that this is resolutely not-for-everyone. Black Dice are one of those bands that I don't play to friends when they come round because it is such an acquired taste, but fans of the avant-garde will probably find much to love here.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Their irreverent attitude makes trying to double guess what's coming next impossible. There are no hooks here..... just pure sophisticated sound.... and serious fun. S.Ross
Creature Comforts suggests the speakers-static of curious arcades and carnivals after hours, after everyone has gone home and the batteries begin to die, the lights flicker and fade, the trash stirs in the vacant paveways, and the creatures come out: forgotten notes, looping truncated melodies, lazy leftover rhythms, gremlin glitches and meandering dissonances. Their peculiar prowling creates something like an incidental music, happenstance yet almost orchestrated, unassuming yet engulfing...
This is where Morton Subotnick gets to hash it out with Boards of Canada.
Really astonishing record, this. Timeless. And new. One of the 2-3 best things to happen in music this year if not the decade. It's a giant leap ahead of their peers into a new genre. Beaches and Canyons is endlessly more fascinating to listen to than any electroclash triphop drum'n'bass glitch postrock trance jungle techno you've heard. Plus it rocks more and surprises more than anything from those genres I am aware of. Too excellent. Wait no longer.
As highly recommended: Creature Comforts.