Thursday, February 14, 2008

Black Dice "Cold Hands" (EP) (Troubleman Unlimited, 2001)

Artist: Black Dice
Album:"Cold Hands" (EP)
Release Date: 2001
Label: Troubleman Unlimited
Genre: Noise-Rock, Experimental-Rock, Indie-Electronic
Mood: Volatile, Cathartic, Intense, Anxious
Reminds Of: Melt Banana, Boredoms, Fuck Buttons
What People Think: Aversion, AllMusicGuide
Definitely Worth Buying: Amazon

1. Cold Hands
2. Smile Friends
3. The Raven
4. Birthstone

Cold Hands is Black Dice's latest release, following an eponymous full-length and a split EP with Erase Errata (all released on Troubleman-- a label run by Unwound). The band basks in the experimental domain, but what discerns them from other free-form experimental artists is their roots in hardcore and noise rock. Each song is a journey into the left-field sector of the music world, featuring everything from abrasive drums and piercing feedback, to unidentifiable noises and obtrusive static.The opening title-track starts off with some clicks and clanks, almost like a mix between champagne glasses hitting one another and a wind-up toy. Gradually, mid-tone drones sneak their way in, accentuating the crystal clear treble of the clanking to an almost protruding quality. However, the minimalism ends here. The overbearing "Smile Friends" follows with manic drumming that defies any sort of time signature or conventional technique-- like a random hitting of tom-toms and cymbals. The high-end of the song is fleshed out with screeching feedback and fuzzed out droning; and what appears to be someone screaming into a microphone through some kind of distortion pedal makes its foray, but it is unclear whether it is vocals or some kind of weird electronic glitch. In fact, other than the percussive instruments, the origins of the other instruments are indistinguishable. "The Raven" follows in similar style to "Smile Friends," but proves a little more structured and continues for twice as long. The song is primarily a feedback-laden riff with a cacophonous stream of noise shooting through the speakers. Finally, Cold Hands closes with "Birthstone," a 10-minute rumination on more feedback, more cymbals, and more droning. Whatever register the feedback is in, it surely manages to drill at your head. If you listen to the song at a high volume, there is no way you can listen without tightening your brow in pain or abstain from twisting the volume knob down; the layers of feedback slice through the mix in an abrasive fashion. But despite this head-trip of noise, "Birthstone" proves to be the most interesting and, dare I say, most beautiful song on the EP. It's a welcome departure from the previous outings, as it is more subdued and drawn-out.When I first listened to Cold Hands, I was actually dismissive and a bit annoyed. But with subsequent listens, each arcane noise turned into its own unique instrument, and the need to identify their origins became dross. Whether Black Dice creates the sounds with guitars, flutes, or banjoes, the fact remains that it's something they can definitely call their own, remaining consistent and insistent throughout its 22-minutes of rarely chartered territory.


I think I'll try this one...

Watch Black Dice exclusive BBC Collective Show around their studio...

1 comment:

myrkursoli said...

copy the link into your web browser

Death Of The Left Unfinished