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Album: Black Dice - Mod Prog Sic | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Black Dice - Mod Prog Sic

Album: Black Dice - Mod Prog Sic

Twenty-three years into their career, the raw electronic trio get to the hub of things

'It’s an incredibly rare pleasure to hear something this brilliantly basic'

There’s a strand of music that a friend of mine once referred to as “Caveman Electronics”, which snakes through the decades, never quite becoming a genre. It’s surfaced in scenes and moments like postpunk and electroclash, you can hear it in bands like Add N to (X) and maverick house/techno producers like Jamal Moss and Funkineven.

You can trace it back through Cabaret Voltaire’s breakthrough and Suicide back to “Popcorn”, and even Joe Meek’s productions. It’s not about “lo-fi”, more “differently fi”: a relish in the fine details of distortion, the beautiful geometries of the most rigid rhythms and the weirdness of simple signals. 

And Black Dice are the epitome of this sound. Talking about music being “timeless” tends to be ahistorical guff, which ignores how differently people hear through the years, but when you hear a record like this it’s hard not to think it comes from outside of time. Of course, the trio of Bjorn Copeland, Eric Copeland and Aaron Warren have their own history and evolution: from Rhode Island hardcore punks of the late 90s, to discovering the electronic noise scene, to connecting with the LCD Soundsystem-founded DFA Recordings and a connection with the disco-punk explosion of the 00s and reaching international audiences. And they’ve covered a lot of sonic ground over that time: their breakthrough album, 2002’s Beaches & Canyons was more low-tech psychedelia than anything else. 

But somehow on their seventh album – and first in almost a decade – they’ve hit something perfectly pure. This is the caveman electronics archetype, the sound of the most primitive automation imaginable, and it’s completely addictive. Yes, you’ll hear things past – bits of Throbbing Gristle or Radiophonic Workshop or Sun Ra – but really, this does sound like a tapping into the culture of some undiscovered hominins who’ve rigged up some sort of shamanic electric circuits and been playing the same, simple, ritual songs on it for thousands of years. It’s foolish but profound, it sounds like the easiest thing in the world, but it’s an incredibly rare pleasure to hear something this brilliantly basic.

@joemuggs

Listen to "Mod Prog Sic":

This is the caveman electronics archetype, the sound of the most primitive automation imaginable, and it’s completely addictive

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Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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