Black Dog Productions
Bytes


4.0
excellent

Review

by I am TheMoreira for we are many. USER (14 Reviews)
June 5th, 2014 | 31 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Proof that it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks.

The insanity that was the early nineties electronic scene was a primordial soup of beats and broken sound systems with the birth of so many different sub-genres. Perhaps one of the quietest and most influential of these births was the birth of IDM through Warp Records' Artificial Intelligence series, showcasing four releases that would change the face of music forever. The best representation of this change came through Black Dog Producions' Bytes.

While Bytes may not be as advanced as say Autechre were it shows the reasons why the birth of IDM was so radically different and important. Most of these tracks contains a differing approach to reconstructing familiar concepts in radically different ways. After a seemingly standard opening 'Caz' destroys any preconceptions that 'Object Orient' created, it's eighties aesthetics rebuilt into an intricate display of odd rhythms and pulsing melodies that lose none of the previous decade's atmosphere. The eighties and the nineties are bridged and the record explodes out from there, destroying and creating with merry abandon. Cultural images of ancient Mongolia and today's pop songs are equally deconstructed and re-imagined through music, eschewing all conventional forms of melody for the sake of change, even when it comes to the detriment of the song.

Indeed the single-minded determination that drives Bytes can become its greatest weakness. The album's fragmentary composition cauterises potentially amazing ideas on some occasions while letting others run on for too long. 'Jauqq' opens with a beautiful melody that is almost immediately faded out to be replaced with repetitive beats and fragments of said melody that never rise back up to the promise that the song started out with. 'Object Orient' on the other hand feels overly repetitive to the point of ridiculousness and functions as a mediocre entry point into Bytes. At certain points this album does sound too retro for its own good, the very nineties feel perhaps coming too much to the fore in certain tracks, the prehistoric equipment used showing it's age.

That being said though the strength of the songwriting and the spontaneity more than overcome Bytes' shortcomings. Songs like 'Yamemm' and 'Focus Mel' reveal astoundingly rich and beautiful veins of imagination that, while seemingly fragmentary, make an uncanny amount of sense yet any trace of the welded seams are non-existent. That's perhaps this album's true strength; it's ability to remain logical and focused while appearing to be none of these things allows none of the energy and humanity that sparked it to be lost. It may not always be consistent in this manner but when it is it's nothing short of brilliant.

Choice Cuts:

- Caz
- Fight The Hits
- Clan (Mongol Hordes)



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user ratings (11)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ResidentNihilist
June 5th 2014


1275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

4 hyp and anyone else who cares. I think there maybe a few phrasing issues here and there but I think it's okay. Constructive criticism appreciated as always.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2014


19686 Comments


fucking love this record, easily my favorite of the AI series. that early 90's IDM/ambient techno sound just keeps getting better and better with age

3/4 heart is one of my favorite tracks.

ResidentNihilist
June 5th 2014


1275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

question though hyp; this or tri repetae

mindleviticus
June 5th 2014


8542 Comments


yea eh it's dec

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2014


19686 Comments


i like this more than tri repetae even though this is more comparable to incunabula, which i also like it more than.

Yotimi
June 5th 2014


6853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah it's awesome. Surprised theres only 5 ratings

Relinquished
June 5th 2014


29399 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome album

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2014


32077 Comments


Surprised theres only 5 ratings


I'm not. BDP were never the biggest name in early 90s IDM, and this site doesn't follow much beyond the big names when it comes to that era of music

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2014


19686 Comments


i dont know what it is, but theres just something about the sounds that came out of this era that just resonate with me on just about every level.

music has always been about sound moreso that composition to me but man i love this era of electronic music so much. while some of it can still sound great, the truth of the matter is that VST's in ableton just dont sound as good (at least to me).

PappyMason
June 6th 2014


3367 Comments


Superb album.

Digging: Wes Montgomery - Smokin' at the Half Note

Ricochet
February 15th 2015


2386 Comments


so you should BUMP this shit like theyll do in the future..

danielito19
February 18th 2015


9903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

this album fucking rules. currently going through the discogs of all the artists involved with artificial intelligence.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2015


19686 Comments


beaumont hannant and speedy j are probably the two most underrated

danielito19
February 18th 2015


9903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

3/4 heart is SO FUCKING GOOD but i wish it had a real ending...



the black dog productions umbrella has such a huge fucking discog. between black dog AND plaid. it'll take a while before i move on lmao.



order of discogs:

afx and 800000 aliases (have heard everything on spotify, good enough 4 me)

black dog umbrella (have heard only this)

B12

F.U.S.E.

Speedy J



then after that I'll go through the AI comps to check out everyone who contributed a track.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2015


19686 Comments


yea my favorite tracks on this are caz, olivine, and 3/4 heart, so good.

Yotimi
February 18th 2015


6853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Daniel, check my become a better person list (shameless plug)

danielito19
February 18th 2015


9903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

bookmarked. hella rad

Ricochet
April 7th 2015


2386 Comments


Focus Mel pretty much rules

danielito19
April 7th 2015


9903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

my least favorite thing about this album is all the goddam fadeouts

Ricochet
April 7th 2015


2386 Comments


haha fadeouts are so awful in general , very common on old albums 60s 70s



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