...Will remind 21st Century techno fans everywhere that the Black Dogs remain...
Gemma Padley 2007
The Black Dog is back. Book Of Dogma, the eagerly awaited compilation showcasing some of Ken Downie, Ed Handley and Andy Turner’s finest classics is a must-have for all techno enthusiasts. Re-mastered to perfection, the sporadic rhythms and pensive synth melodies circa the Bytes/Spanners era are given a new lease of life. A master-class in IDM (Intelligent Dance Music), this definitive ambient techno collection packs a hefty punch.
Tracks from the original collective’s Virtual EP constitutes an arresting first disc. The drawn-out dissonance and rhythmic tenacity of ‘’Virtual’’ is as good as new. Rattling beats and laser streaks are captivating in jagged-smooth classic ‘’The Weight’’, while ambient samba rhythms make for a remarkable remix later in the CD. ‘’Ambience With Teeth’’ is alive and kicking with its funky offbeat chords; the catchy organ motifs and intermittent radio-scuzz of ‘’Seer And Sages’’ is a similarly tip-top treat.
‘’Tactile’’’s hyphy vibe is fresh and compelling; sinister warped notes and a looming beat evoke images of driving rain and sliding pools of water across glass panes in the galactic ‘’It Felt Like It’’. Expertly compiled with a balance between dreamlike tracks such as this and the more overtly percussive ‘’The Age Of Slack’’, CD 1 revisits old material with fresh ears. ‘’Dog Solitude’’ with its walking bass and head-crunching rhythms is an appropriate lead into CD 2’s prog-jazz onslaught.
Disc 2 unleashes the 1995 landmark album Parallel in all its glory. The title track is blinding as re-mastered layers of light and reflective sound form an expansive multi-tonality. The scrunching chords and funky bassline of ‘’Erb’’ recall Squarepusher’s progressive-jazz experimentations. Frenetic rhythmic patterns present a disordered logic in ‘’Vanttool’’ while the sinister synth voices of ‘’Rainbow Bridge’’ spin tabla rhythms off course; ‘’Virtual Hmmm’’ is darkly ambient with a disconcerting see-sawing bass. Testament to the craftsmanship of this compilation, Book Of Dogma travels full circle with a stunning remix of album opener ‘’Virtual’’.
Fast, punchy and decisive, this double album is a welcome return for the pioneering Dogs. These rare recordings are full of light, poised to inspire a new generation of tech-heads. The dynamism and range of the Book Of Dogma collection will remind 21st Century techno fans everywhere that the Black Dogs remain unparalleled.