Some things are just meant to go together. Bread and butter, milk and cereal, potatoes and gravy, Michael Vick and dogfighting, etc. On Black Dice’s fifth studio release, Broken Ear Record
the trio ignores this combining genres of music that have absolutely no relation to one another. Think about drinking soda with cake, or running sprints with a thick wool sweatshirt. Black Dice create noises that would normally make a listener cringe however Broken Ear Record
actually possesses a strange yet rewarding sound.
Broken Ear Record
is filled with looped drumbeats, psychedelic keyboard squirts, tribal rhythms, and spastic melodies. Musically Black Dice contain a dance-esque quality but the music is overly cluttered with random bleeps and computer sounds making it difficult to get your groove on. Tracks such as ”Smiling Off”
and ”Snarly Yow”
are dominated by funky, spiraling beats and other various effects which include tribal chanting, erratic guitar effects, and indecipherable vocals. Instead of playing these at separate times in the song Black Dice just combine all of these sounds at once creating a psychedelic mess which looks like a catastrophe on paper however once you listen to the final product it feels very fresh and groovy. “Motorcyle”
makes one feel as if they’re on a demented pirate ship, the detached, bouncy drum loops are lumped together with odd synthesizer warbles and upbeat, catchy chanting.
If I was forced to pinpoint Black Dice down to a single genre I don’t think it would be possible. They combine influences from electronica, drum & bass, psychedelica, funk, and new-wave. It’s almost as if the trio brought out a blender and threw all of these genres into it, as a result the listener is greeted with a jumbled mess of rhythms and melodies. Although these genres aren’t meant to go together Black Dice are able to pull it off creating a zany, quirky, and crazy sound that no other band has even remotely resembled.
Approach Broken Ear Record
with a caution because it is one of the most inaccessible albums that I have ever heard. Black Dice has such an abstract, jarring sound that it’s difficult to get into if you’re not a fan of experimental music. The two brief random noise experiments (“Aba”
) can also become grating after several listens. Some listeners may find the album too over the top and synth savvy, however it’s hard to deny that unique sound that Broken Ear Record
contains. For an album that falls just short of forty minutes Broken Ear Record
will satisfy anyone who is looking for something different.