Posted on Oct 18th 2011 01:27 am
THE BLACK DOG
Soma Recordings 2011
13 Tracks. 58mins05secs
In recent years, The Black Dog have tipped the balance which had defined pretty much all their work in the last decade, progressively abandoning the dance floor to focus increasingly on atmospheric and ambient forms. While Further Vexations (2009) still bore a healthy dose of techno influences, the trio of Ken Downie and Martin and Richard Dust had devoted the last three tracks of the album to much more atmospheric, beat-less, pieces. It is however with its follow-up, Music For Real Airports (2010), which aimed at creating a sonic environment from sounds sourced in and around various airports, and their recent series of collaborative efforts with former member of Dutch entity Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia as Dadavistic Orchestra, that they fully immersed themselves into deeply ambient and textural recordings, leaving any trace of danceable groove far behind them.
Compared to the rich soundscapes which formed most of the ambient structures of Further Vexation, Music For Real Airports and Dokument.01 and .02, Liber Dogma represents a radical shift toward dry minimalism, where the beat is pushed to the fore, served by pulsating bass lines and only a sprinkle of additional sounds for each piece. Closer by nature to Berlin’s minimal and hypnotic techno than to Detroit’s more luxurious sound, Liber Dogma has been devised with one aim and one aim only: the dance floor. Dark Wave Creeping and The Death Ov The Black Sun kick off the proceedings in relative subdued mood, harking back to classic mid-nineties Black Dog era, but the latter displays much darker overtones, and its overall structure is more stripped down already, introducing the more sombre tones to come.
From there on, The Black Dog metamorphoses into a dark beast indeed, with pieces such as Drop Kick Kali, The Black Maria, Silent Escape or the aptly titled Worship The Drum functioning with virtually no natural air, caught in an oppressive and retrained set of linear grooves and see-through melodies. As the album progresses, it feels as if The Black Dog is pushing deeper into the labyrinth of rooms of a subterranean club, each new room darker, murkier and sweatier than the one before. With Single Light Focus, Silent Escape, Hyper Knot 7 and Bird Siren, they reach the heart of this cavernous world, its desolate core served by hypnotic grooves and robotic patterns, and if Feeder Rub Out slows the whole machine down for a moment and provides some breathing space, the two concluding pieces reasserts the resolutely techno identity of this record with aplomb.
After twenty-or-so year, The Black Dog remains as feverishly relevant today as it was back in the early nineties. While Downie and the Dust brothers have undeniably moved on with the times and taught the old dog a wide range of new tricks, they have remained faithful to their techno heritage, and if there was ever any doubt of that, Liber Dogma is proof that they still had much to say.