...Will remind 21st Century techno fans everywhere that the Black Dogs remain...
Gemma Padley 2007-03-22
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.