Local Wire

Black Dice

There's the "space-rock" of Pink Floyd, Mogwai, and Flying Saucer Attack, and then there's the music of instrumental-experimental Brooklyn trio Black Dice that very literally sounds like it comes from the cosmos -- something the microphones onboard the Cassini Saturn probe might pick up if it discovered a well-stocked zoo on the surface of the sixth rock from the sun.

Gadget-manipulated guitars are responsible for Creature Comforts' dominating squeaks, twitters, scrapes, drones, bubbles, glurbles, and cries; whenever a near-melodic arpeggio or tribal drum thump emerges, threatening to anchor any of these eight tracks in conventionality, those mostly playful, infrequently ominous noises swoop in to keep things plenty abstract. "Creature" sounds like a dozen Star Wars droids trying to communicate over the din of idling buses in a Greyhound Terminal, while "Live Loop" and the 15-minute "Skeleton" generate strangely tropical atmospheres, like extraterrestrials landing in the middle of a luau. Creature Comforts is probably best listened to on headphones -- not only to appreciate the trippy panning effects, but to keep the neighbors from thinking you're an advance scout for the alien invasion.

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Michael Alan Goldberg