Review: The legendary Black Dog return with more immaculately designed and forward thinking electronics on their own Dust Science imprint. Nowadays comprised of Ken Downie and Martin & Richard Dust, they've certainly still got it, and this is testament to it! The album goes from dreamy soundscapes and imaginary soundtracks ("Phil 0114" and "The Frequency Ov Thee Truthers") to even Autonomic style drum and bass on tracks like "Phil 3 to 5 to 3" but there's straight up techno later on in the album as heard on "Self Organising Sealed Systems" and "Commodification" and the absolutely mental "Hollow Stories, Hollow Head". Great song titles, that's a given. Essential listening.
Commodification (South Sea Bubble mix) - (5:43) 129 BPM
Review: Like Heaven 17, one of the great Sheffield electronic bands, it appears that fellow steel city artists The Black have a fascination with the divided society. On Commodities & Pavement, rather than corporation-obsessed synth pop, the trio deliver intricate, thoughtful techno. "Platform Lvl 6 (Crash mix)" is led by a woozy sub-bass and its insistent groove features a series of drops and a robotic vocal sample. "Commodification (South Sea Bubble mix)" is faster and less nuanced, with a spiky, rickety rhythm and throbbing bass licks prevailing. It mightn't get The Black Dog on Top of the Pops, but it shows again that they are the thinking man's techno act of choice.
Review: The fourth and final installment of this series sees the long-established Sheffield act focus their efforts on the dance floor. "Cathedral Sex" is shot through with eerie, dreamy synths and ghostly pads, but it is powered by sub-sonic bleeps and reduced metallic rhythms that are reminiscent of Sleeparchive's vintage releases. "Havelock Circle" favours a similar, dancefloor-friendly approach, but on this occasion, the tones are replaced with a filter that tunnels its way through a pulsing groove. Finally, there's a live version of "Havelock Circle". Recorded at Fabric, its insistent drones, percussive bursts and punishing bass licks make for functional techno at its finest.
Review: Sheffield veterans The Black Dog deliver a diverse collection of tracks and remixes on their Dust Science label. From the deep, bleepy pulses of "Black Chamber Order" and "Bass Mantra" to the grinding, broken beats of "Heavy Industry" and "Greedy Gutter Guru" into the outright banging "Dissident Bleep", Liber highlights The Black Dog's versatility. The release also contains a number of essential remixes; in what must have been their last external exercise, Sandwell District turn "Dissident" into a textured, mysterious affair. Sigha transforms "High Rise" into a stripped back, linear workout and Shifted and Blawan deliver shimmering chord techno versions of "Heavy Industry" and "Black Chamber". A freaky, jazzed out version of "Greedy Gutter" by Cabaret Voltaire pioneer Richard H Kirk completes the package.
Review: Yorkshire natives, Warp legends and techno mavericks, The Black Dog return with one hell of a full-length on their own Dust Science Recordings - a firm, overwhelming presence on the dance-not-dance world since 2005. These guys have a long history of bleepy, wonky tones, starting from their first 12"s on Warp back in the mid-nineties and it's clear from this latest LP that they're showing no signs of stopping their incredible form. The 16 track album goes from the drone distortions of "Bolt No 6" to the gnarly, two-step muscle flex of "Atavistic Resurgence" and the sweet, watery deep house vibes on "Cult Mentality". Our personal favourites, however, have to be the off-kilter beat shredding on "Hymn For SoYo", the break-laden swirls of "Pray Crash I" and the sparse, echoing synth waves of "Internal Collapse" - the track itself being worthy of a full release. Sit back, unwind and let the many surprises of Tranklements take you on a ride...
Review: The first of two promised Darkhaus volumes from veteran Sheffield trio The Black Dog arrives on Ostgut Ton's Unterton imprint, and predictably, it's something of a belter. "Council Flat Emptiness" is a rolling piece of analogue techno funk bathed in a wash of cascading dystopian synth textures; it's preceded by the "Stripped" version which pulls all the decorative elements back to just a simple combination of raw bass and lysergic stabs. Luke Slater makes a welcome return to his LB Dub Corp alias with his remix; giving it an industrial overhaul with mammoth kick drums, it puts everything except the juggernaut bassline into a digital blender, slowly building up to a crescendo of whirring bitcrushed noise which mingles with a surprisingly funky melody. In a landscape full of increasingly dry techno, The Black Dog are a consistent breath of fresh air.
The Black Dog - "Scan 9 From SoYoa" - (6:02) 130 BPM
Happa - "Red Place" - (7:39) 129 BPM
Review: Is it a case of age before beauty as electronic veterans The Black Dog line out with wunderkind Happa for the fifth and final release of Bleep's Green Series? Certainly the Sheffield trio's many years of experience come to the fore on "Scan 9 From SoYo", where subtle metallic pulses provide the basis for a bass that builds and builds until it resembles a steel mill in its stature and power. There are no such subtleties on Happa's "Red Place". Instead, the newcomer uses layer upon layer of drones and textures to cover a throbbing, distorted rhythm track that fizzles and crackles with all the energy of Lenny Dee on downers.
Review: While Black Dog founder Ken Downie has rarely been one to talk candidly in the press, his current studio partners, Martin and Richard Dust, have been known to deliver angry missives on a variety of topics. It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that the trio's latest album- their first for nearly three years - appears to have been inspired by the current state of politics and the media. Full of knowing track titles, melancholic refrains, frustrated rhythms, dystopian soundscapes and angry motifs, the album's thought-provoking intent is rather overshadowed by the quality of the music on offer. You'll find bustling electro, end-of-days ambient, rushing cinematic techno, IDM and the kind of hard-to-pigeonhole fare that inspired then NME journalist Mixmaster Morris to come up with the now familiar "intelligent techno" tag.
Review: All too often forgotten or overlooked, British electronic outfit The Black Dog have truly released on a magnificent array of label over the years, and they can now honestly be seen as living legends. Aside from what they did for Scotland's Soma label, they've also been regular casuals for the likes of Warp, among many other of the country's staples. Unlike what they'd chosen to focus on in the past, their new sound is comprised of hollow, meandering ambient structures that have little in common with their club heritage, except maybe for their hypnotic qualities. As usual, they appear on the legendary Dust Science label, out of Yorkshire, and each of the four parts to Forgemasters - Shards OV Light seems to be locked in an unmistakable downtempo bubble, glitching and evolving subtly with each new sound of movement of sound. It's a deep, enthralling and eye-opening landscape of sounds.
Neither/Neither (Bitten Twice By The Black Dog mix) - (6:54) 120 BPM
BOOKS (War & Peace version) - (25:43) 146 BPM
Review: Sheffield veterans The Black Dog tap some of their favourite producers to remix tracks from their recent album. Ambivalent, who rose to fame during the minimal house boom, turns in a tough techno version of "Commodification", its tribal drums and growling bassline underpinning wild squeals and squeaks. By contrast, GoldFFinch's take on "Hollow Stories, Hollow Head" is a woozy affair, held together by a pulsing bass and lush strings. The Black Dog themselves also get in on the action, turning "Neither-Neither" into a tough stepper with a searing bass and ticking percussion, while the War & Peace version of "Books" is a balmy ambient affair.