Not much in the way of melody
, but a lot in the way of power. Black Dice started in Providence
in the late nineties as a bunch of RISD
students making hellacious noise. Taking the power of hardcore bands like Antioch Arrow
as the base and adding over-disorted, feedback laden guitar noise and hilariously in the red
production, they released their debut 7"
on Gravity Records
. Their live shows at this time tended to top out around fifteen minutes, involve throwing things (sharp metal things
or heavy wooden things
) into the audience
and generally end in blood loss of some sort. So it goes.
The band continued to gain infamy as a bunch of pretentious twits and released similar records on Tapes Records (The Semen Of The Sun 7") and Vermiform Records (an untitled one-sided 7"). A 10" record on Troubleman Unlimited saw them begin to branch out their sound. The first side of the record runs together as a fairly impenetrable wall of screaming hardcore noise. It sounds more like a hardcore band warming up than anything else. The second side features some actual songs, including their longest song yet, an untitled number (as all the tracks are) that comes out at over four minutes long and ends in a Metal Machine Music-esque drone of guitar feedback.
And thus begins the boring phase in the career of Black Dice. Around this time they released an LP on Catsup Plate Records/Troubleman Unlimited called Cold Hands. Four songs across two sides. This is some of the most ridiculously pretentious wankery I've ever heard, and it's not even shocking or invigorating as their earliest 7"s were. One tracks is more or less the sound of broken music boxes along with a guitar drone. Another is a blatant Merzbow rip-off (walls of static and dissonant feedback). Also released included a split 7" with femme-punkers Erase Errata and the Peace In The Valley 7" on 31G Records. The Peace In The Valley record comes with a forty page, full color booklet of paintings, drawings and abstract art that accompanies the music--more arty posturing but little in the way of real substance.
In 2002 they released the double LP Beaches and Canyons on DFA Records, and it's still horribly pretentious, but at least it's a fairly enjoyable listen. One doesn't get bored to tears, but one isn't bombarded with walls of feedback, crashing drums and screaming either. It seems to be more an ambient record than anything else. It sounds like someone smashed up Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II with Bardo Pond's more droning works and added just a bit of Unwound. To be perfectly honest, it sounds like it's music to take drugs to. It's a bunch of long, mostly electronic soundscapes that only occasionally dip into static-drenched noise or atonal, meandering moans. Wailing vocals pushed way in the back of the recording occasionally pop up and add an unsettling air to the record. You won't be humming any of this on your drive to work in the morning.
Black Dice are based in Brookyln, New York.