Black Dice's Beaches and Canyons : a descriptive review by Vsevolod
Maybe because of the "black" in Black Dice I thought that their music would be dark, oppressive and ultimately depressing. I should have trusted the colorful psychedelic cover art instead.
The first track, Seabird, Things Will Never Be the Same Again sounds like traditional music from a distant inhabited planet, with the appropriate muffled singing at some point. The second track, The Dream is Going Down is built around the sound of waves rolling, with a guy singing a tribal song in the distance. They put delay on the waves, and on the singing the track starts in a dreamy way and three or so minutes later drums kick in, as well as a baby crying, and even though you would predict it to be gloomy it only sounds natural. The drums slowly rise and the guy who was singing in the distance is now screaming under the layer of sound which has been slowly built up. Then at 6 minutes an alarm buzz kicks in, only to fade out shortly afterwards. The drums slow down and the epic track ends with bubbling sounds and drones. The third track, Endless Happiness starts with static and a distorted voice and then Sigur Rós-like angel voices kick in, and softly fly above the sea of drones and noise. Soothing and haunting in the same time. A few minutes after its start the very same guy ecstatically sings and the Black Dice guys turn the voice into a rhythmic component and then you can go into a shamanic trance. The fourth track, Big Drop, starts with eastern Asiatic pipes and tiny bells. The tension slowly rises, with drums coming in, pipes looped into catapults for another planet. It ends with the lovely sound of waves rolling. I'm pretty sure there are seagulls singing in the distance. The final track is the less listener-friendly with it's static loop, screaming, feedback and monster drums. The tension rises in the second half, with cut up vocals pasted on the rhythmic pattern and a guy screaming frantically.
So, to conclude, apart from the final track, Beaches and Canyons sounds like another world's world music. Can't really sound more exotic than that.
/feb 1st 2003/