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Black Dice: Repo (Paw Tracks)



Black Dice treats electronica like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion treats the blues: The audacious Brooklyn trio takes a big bite of musical matter and chews it up, reducing it to its basic building blocks, and then aggressively spits it back at listeners. This process results in chaotic sound collages, an assaultive variation on IDM that is both intellectually engaging and physiologically enervating.

Black Dice have been celebrated as sonic pioneers and dismissed as bellicose and annoying. Either way, this band challenges and subverts what is generally considered music, not unlike similar artists such as Squarepusher, Wolf Eyes, Fuck Buttons and Melt-Banana.

With that established, Repo is perhaps their most musical album yet. Still, the abstract song constructions are completely open to interpretation. The leadoff track, "Nite Creme," for instance, with its electronic snarls and gulps, and a beat that vacillates between rigid and rubbery, could be the rutting call of a prehistoric mammal. Or it could be simply be a diverting amalgam of noise.

Many of the tunes are marked by window-rattling bass, garbled vocals and waves of aggressive distortion, but each has unique melodic elements, such as the half-intelligible Asian sounds embedded in "Lazy TV," the dripping bleeps of the strangely calming "Vegetable" and the spooky backwards vocals and grinding-metal guitar on "Chicken Shit." Disturbing? Yes, but entertainingly so.

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