Over the past few years, the Brooklyn-based Black Dice has succeeded in introducing elements of noise and concrete music to wider audiences. Their albums – Beaches and Canyons (2002), Creature Comforts (2004) and Broken Ear Record (2005), all released by DFA – have made the group popular among fans of electronic music as well as alternative rock enthusiasts, but this has not put a stop to the constant transformation of their often surprising sound configurations. Black Dice began in the late 1990s at Providence Rhode Island School of Design. The band, which included members of their classmates Lightning Bolt, shared the aesthetic principle of combining the angular energy of post-hardcore punk with walls of noise. Their explosive performances, full of storming intensity, often resulted in bruises for both the audience and the musicians. When the free-form fields of sound between their songs started expanding, the band became very popular in noise circles as well. This resulted in Black Dice recording an album with the seminal noise outfit Wolf Eyes. Before the turn of the millennium the band relocated to New York, and the traces of conventional song structure left in their music disappeared. The overall tone of their music mutated: night-time horrors became enchanting nightmares of beach hobos with pendulum eyes and the dazed mindscapes of somebody surfing between TV shopping channels. However, their songs are not based on improvisation a fact many listeners find surprising – but instead rely on careful planning. The year 2004 saw the departure of Hisham Bharoocha, their long-time percussionist, and the band condensed into a trio formed by the brothers Eric and Bjorn Copeland and Aaron Warren. But Black Dice have not lost touch with the fury of their formative years. Their latest album Broken Ear Record testifies to an even stronger fascination with primitive electronic rhythms. Their performances are immersive experiences, echoing the most overwhelming psychedelic happenings of the 1960s. The music of Black Dice is accompanied with visuals created on the spot by filmmaker Danny Perez.
kuva: Jason Frank Rothenberg