B IS FOR THE BLACK DOG (5)

The Black Dog’s “Parallel” album is top notch, electronic music ahead of its time. So, it’s disappointing that this 1995 album would be the last by the trio of Ken Downie, Ed Handley and Andy Turner. The Black Dog first caught my attention back in ’95 when I heard “Bytes”. It was, and still remains, one of my favourite albums of all time. “Spanners” (see yesterday’s post) did not really satisfy but “Parallel” did. A work of genius in its own right; this album cemented the sound of what the Black Dog was all about.

One of the pleasures of clubbing is occasionally stumbling across a back room, away from the main dance floor, where the music is unfamiliar but infectious. Listening to this album is a bit like that. This isn’t club music, but there’s a sort-of-but-not-quite dance beat on these tracks which keeps up a steady tempo through the whole album, without digressions or ambient doodling.

The music is melodic but not over-elaborate, with two or three basic elements on each track weaving in and out of each other over the beats. This gives a sound which is stripped down to basics; there is no sonic jungle to machete your way through. Although consistently good throughout, Parallel and Virtual Hmmm are arguably the best tracks. The excellent ‘VIR2L’ closes the album well, an odd but strangely effective piece based around a short vocal sample.

The straightforward approach may be because Parallel wasn’t originally conceived as an album, the contents are taken from three early EPs done in 1991/1992. It’s a different sound to either Bytes or Spanners. It has a relaxing feel and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone interested in electronic music.

The Black Dog – Virtual Hmmm

The Black Dog – Glossolalia

The Black Dog – Parallel

The Black Dog Website
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~ by acidted on May 29, 2008.

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