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Black Dice/Dominic Butler (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Dominic Butler at Corsica StudiosCorsica Studios, London
24 June 2013

The last time I saw Black Dice was in 2009 at the Tufnell Park Dome when they were joined by fellow uplifting souls Experimental Dental School amongst others. The evening had been a reasonably enjoyable listen of eclectic sounds and rhythms up until the point that the three members of Black Dice took to the stage. From then on in it was absolute deafening chaos of the most enjoyable kind. I was lucky enough to catch the shock, horror and outright disgust on the faces of the north London bar staff as they frantically reached for the nearest set of earplugs to abate the sonic terror being unleashed from that small stage.

It is with quite a bit of excitement then that I head to the fantastic Corsica Studios on an otherwise dreary Monday night in London to check these guys out for the first time since. I was hoping to catch Jonny and Tim from Part Chimp playing as Die Munch Machine, but unfortunately due to a mix up at the door I am unable to get in on time. A shame really, as they do sound rather fantastic from out on the street.

Dominic Butler at Corsica StudiosFactory Floor‘s Dominic Butler is up next in the all-too familiar ‘solo’ slot, wherein a male member of a notable band stands on stage for a bit looking intently at ‘something’ in front of him while doing their best to avoid eye contact and interaction of any sort with the audience. It’s easy to mock this kind of performance – and even more so the hipsters congregated down the front dancing – but the output here is definitely of a high calibre. Awesome swarm sounds are looped throughout one track which bring to mind some sort of warped shoegaze while an off-beat cacophony of drums throws things off completely, in a fantastic way, much to the bafflement of the aforementioned hipsters who are still trying to do their best to dance along. Great stuff.

Black Dice at Corsica Studios

The stage is now set for Black Dice, with Ampeg speaker cabs, Gallien Krueger amps and a variety of sequencers littering the stage. I fully expect to lose my hearing, given my experience of the Tufnell Park gig and the fact that we’re in Corsica Studios, home of that PA, but things aren’t quite as painfully loud as I was expecting (hoping for?). I don’t even pretend to know the names of what they played, or Black Dice’s names for that matter, but it’s undeniably that sound that they are now (ever so slightly) famous for and that only they can produce – a mash-up of processed guitars, screams, skittering drums, white noise and fuck knows what else. They put everything into their performance, even coming close to tipping over speaker stacks on a few occasions, and it’s an enjoyable, shambolic 45 minute set.

Black Dice at Corsica Studios

During the show I began wondering how on earth I can write a review for such a performance, as so much of it is, to my ears at least, unclassifiable. My partner in crime for the evening suggested a two word review: “Shit Dice”. While I wouldn’t go that far I would say that the night provided a very enjoyable, if ultimately rather forgettable, experience. That might sound negative, but it’s not, because when they’re next in town I’ll definitely be there.

-Stuart Low-

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