I spent a day viewing and listening to a vast array of artwork, ranging from sculptures to photographs to audio pastiches. So I come home to get to work on this Black Dice review. I had requested to review this album, but to tell you the truth, I think I might have subconsciously been thinking of a different `Black’ or `Dice’ band. In any case, I popped Load Blown in the computer and what came out was not very different from what I had just listened to at the gallery.
Let’s back up for a moment: Load Blown is not a proper album, but rather a compilation of three vinyl EPs that have been released over the course of the year, plus a few unreleased tracks for good measure. Though Load Blown isn’t an album in the most traditional sense of the word, it most certainly works as a cohesive whole.
There are no vocals to speak of, and the music has a rather frenzied feel, yet there is something remarkably listenable about these songs. But as I was saying about the gallery business: there are times when I listen to a piece of music and I think to myself, “this would be great as an audio installation.” Earlier this year, when I reviewed Avey Tare and Kria Brekkan’s Pullhair Rubeye, I was confronted by this blurry line between experimental music and audio art. I concluded that perhaps Pullhair Rubeye would be better off as an art piece, I think Black Dice blur the line further.
The songs on Load Blown make for a great listen. They’re not really something you’d play at a party nor are they something you’d crank up in your car, but they are sonically deep. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of “experimental” music, but I found myself engrossed listening to these songs. The frenetic pacing of “Roll Up” was a little unexpected in an over 7-minute song, but I never grew tired of listening to it. The steady electronic beat blends easily with the warped what I think are guitar sounds. It creates a frantic yet ambient atmosphere.
While these songs are wonderful enough as leisure listening, I think they would also serve very nicely as sound art or even as a soundtrack to a video piece. Whether the band is open to such an idea is completely up to them, but I would highly enjoy such a venture. Songs like “Bottom Feeder” are a little too abrasive for me to listen to but I can imagine it working very well in the context of art. Load Blown is a very good album for those whose minds are open enough to take it in. But I would still recommend the band collaborate with a visual artist, just because the potential overall effect could be quite compelling.