Thursday, October 1, 2009

TVD Previews the next Story/Stereo with special guests Bluebrain

Our preview of the musical end of Friday’s Story/Stereo spectrum continues today with the other half of Bluebrain, Hays Holladay:

Black Dice - Creature Comforts
The first time I heard Black Dice was as a college radio DJ at small Columbia University station room on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. As a freshman I was given the unbearable 5-7 AM Saturday morning shift. I'm fairly confident that absolutely no one listened to my show...ever. So I spent my shift exploring the wealth of new music that was sent to WBAR by bands and their record labels while broadcasting it over the airwaves. That was where I first heard Black Dice's *Cone Toaster* 12". Soon after the needle hit the record, it was clear to me that this might be the worst music to ease you into the day. Incredibly brash and earsplitting at any volume. So stark and amelodic. Somehow simultaneously hipnotic and jarring. While I was listening to it (by now fully awake) I remember thinking that it sounded like music that was not made by musicians, but by their delay and distortion pedals late at night long after the band had left their practice space. There music is full of randomness which humans seem to be incapable of producing. What sort of warped minds could really discard all popular conventions to make songs devoid of a protagonist. *Cone Toaster* has absolutely no human touch. Only it is not in the way that naysayers of electronic music typically disparage the genre. These songs weren't made in a vacuum nor were they glossy and without nuance. It was completely inorganic. But as the labels of most inorganic items in the grocery store will tell you, inorganic things are highly complex.

What really sold me on Black Dice though was their next release, *Creature Comforts*. Oddly enough, when the group announced the title of the record, my brother Ryan and I we're nearing completion on an album of the same name (under an earlier band called The Epochs). As any musicians or all artists for that matter know, titles can set the stage and give context to a work. We were frustrated. But I bought *Creature Comforts* anyway just to see how they had made use of title. We both agreed: if any record should have this title, it's this one. What surprised me most about the record is how they had maintained the inhuman quality of their previous work while shifting their focus onto emulating organic sounds with man-made machines. I feel that the parenthetical title of their record should be Mechanical Animals (maybe it was the working title until Marilyn Manson used it). They created a forest of sound teeming with robotic bird calls and electronic insect noises from scratch. I saw them play this record in New York inside of a greenhouse, oddly enough, and that's precisely where this album lives.

Black Dice - Treetops (Mp3)
Black Dice - Island (Mp3)
Black Dice - Creature (Mp3)

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