If you don’t have The Black Dog’s “Bytes” (1993), you really should. Their first album on Warp, albeit technically credited to Black Dog Productions as they had already signed to GPR. A landmark IDM techno release that works as an album, rather than a set of singles plus filler.

The Black Dog was originally the collaborative project of Ken Downie, Ed Handley and Andy Turner. The latter two had already released a handful of underground releases as Plaid. The first notable appearance from the trio was on the original 1992 Artificial Intelligence compilation from Warp, followed a few months later by the seminal album Bytes.

Presented as a compilation of artists, including Plaid, Xeper, Atypic. Balil or I.A.O, Bytes combined classic Detroit-infused techno sound with atmospheric electronic textures and complex rhythmic structures, at times clearly influenced by hip-hop. This debut album propelled The Black Dog right at the top of the burgeoning British electronica movement alongside other Warp stalwarts such as Autechre, B12 or LFO.

At the time, their approach to electronic music bridged the gap between club-based techno enthusiasts and bedroom-based computer geeks. The combination of Ken Downie’s fetish for Egyptian iconography and Arabic music with the production talents of Ed Handey and Andy Turner (who later went off on their own as Plaid) produced an engaging album; Bytes took the repetitive and atmospheric sounds of European techno and disrupted them with intricate polyrhythms and abstract melodies. Elements of Jazz but without the snobbishness that would ultimately define and, in time, destroy the IDM wave.

Black Dog Productions – Object Orient

Black Dog Productions – Heart

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~ by acidted on May 26, 2008.

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