Monday, 31 March 2008

Black Dice

No genre can be quite as transcendental or quite such an ordeal as noise music. In self indulgent hands, a noise gig can be an endurance test; an interminable, chronically limited spectacle of musicians blowing their load through a rack of effect pedals. But when creativity is applied, noise music can break through the glass ceiling of anger-channeling and sonic nihilism and blossom into something more.

NYC trio Black Dice play in front of an imposing wall of speakers, bathed in projected patterns that flex, flash and ripple in time with with their ever-evolving rhythms. Rasping sonic scratches punctuate elusive, catchy repetitions that congeal and dissolve between shuddering slabs of distorted racket. There notably isn't any reference to tradition song structures, build/release or loud-quiet-loud dynamics. This is a micro-landscape built from sounds both mechanical and organic, chaotic and systematic, played at ear-shattering, bone-shaking volume.

The three often play sections that are ostensibly at odds with each other, but overlap fluently, creating a multi-layered composition with several narratives working in unison. Vocals are employed as part of the sound collage, and like the live drums and occasional guitar, what playing is visible bears little resemblance to the sound coming from the speakers. Everything comes through an effects array that warps and bends every aspect into the tangling maths of the whole.

The effect is a set that seems both familiar and impenetrably alien, strictly ordered and yet organic in construction, like a process found in nature. Put a microphone to the ground and amplify the sounds of the earth to the thunderous volume of a meteor strike, and you can start to imagine the noise Black Dice are making.

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