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Black Dice: “Smiling Off (Luomo Remix)”

Black Dice: “Smiling Off (Luomo Remix)”

Release Date:2005

By Jess Harvell | Posted 10/5/2005

Black Dice is now made up of “sound artists,” experimental musicians, noise dudes—whatever you want to call them. Hardcore, especially after grindcore pulled the 15-second “song” reductio ad absurdum move, was always more about texture, weight, and structure than songwriting. So it’s not particularly surprising to see hardcore kids maturing by slowing things down and letting the tape machines do the talking.

But the results, especially for those of us who liked Black Dice in its broken noses and flying beer bottles phase, have often lagged behind its intentions. Most of the bands that Black Dice is (presumably) looking up to—Swans, Can, Boredoms—just do this shit better. Fixed velocity and direction have been replaced by noodling, and the band’s modern moments of interest—the 2003 Cone Toaster EP especially—have all been tethered to a pulse.

“Cone Toaster,” its 4/4 throb (squint hard and you can almost hear dance music), and its reception (props from Timbaland, of all people) were probably what led the band to commission Finnish house god Vladislav Delay, aka Luomo, to do a remix for the new Broken Ear Record. It’s not wholly successful, but it’s a pretty interesting Frankenstein. Delay treats the original strictly as source material for sampling—vocal incantations, noise blasts, instrumental scrabble—which he weaves over one of his now trademark deeper-than-deep-house grooves. The thrill comes from a bunch of noises (or sometimes just “noise”) not generally associated with disco dancing. But, sadly, the notion of Luomo, or Black Dice itself, hacking its beats and pieces into a nü-groove remains unrealized.

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