Black Dice

    Creature Comforts


    Black Dice seems to have sparked an interest in noise music among those who aren’t necessarily buying Harry Pussy or Merzbow records; it’s probably because, at heart, their recent music is really pretty palatable. Creature Comforts is a pretty folk rock exercise filtered through a lot of effects boxes. No problem with that per se, but this album just doesn’t have the conceptual punch of the recent Miles of Smiles EP, which contained two long, violent songs that employed elegant peaks and valleys, manipulating the listener by locking into a groove just long enough for you to dig it, then abandoning it and screwing with you all over again.


    The mood of the improv instrumental jams on Creature Comforts is relatively chilled out, thanks to pastoral guitar strumming and some serious pedal-hopping, bliss-out moments. Songs blend into others, and songs within songs are common. Black Dice’s methodology is usually to ruin any gratuitous beauty with washes and bursts of haphazard electronic noise, some of which sounds spectacularly inventive, some of which sounds like it was the first sound their distortion pedals burped out. It’s as if Brian Eno were to get stoned and drunk and radically remix Another Green World.

    Creature Comforts is a straight-faced, well-intentioned improvisational noise record that’s partly compelling because you’re never really sure what’s producing any given sound and partly compelling — because most of the noise is pedal-produced — in that the soundscape is so vast that expectations of what will happen next are useless. There can’t be any mistakes when there are no strictures to the structure.

    Creature Comforts is mostly about tweaking knobs and pushing buttons and relies on producing a "whoa" moment in the listener. When you’re not saying, "Whoa, that was cool," you’re waiting for the next time you can, and it’s never long before Black Dice fills the blank with a spastic blast of unidentifiable sound. But it’s a pretty predictable formula. Ironically, what superficially seems like the most unpredictable record by a band seemingly bent on producing a confrontational and uneven listening experience becomes just the opposite.