Black Dice Beaches and Canyons

[DFA; 2002]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: noise, dance, house, urban, industrial, tribal
Others: Animal Collective, Excepter, Throbbing Gristle

After two albums that can be summed up with the word "violent," the members of Black Dice take a sharp left from the dark, aggressive domains to the peaceful sounds of the beach. But don't expect Yanni-laden tunes above a wash of contemporary chords; Black Dice offers an ethereal journey that will have your mind stimulated and body trembling. Like the Impressionists who painted to make an immediate visual impression, Black Dice similarly dab small strokes of sound to create stunning free-form compositions. The ambiguous melodies and off-kilter polyrhythms evoke a pictorial sensation of seabirds and other forms of nature, and the transcendence creates a natural milieu for your ears. Standout track "Things Will Never be the Same" relies on cymbal crescendos and alien noises to bring about its intense, conflicting decorum. Halfway into the song, you can hear what sounds like a baby crying, which later morphs into someone screaming in agony. At the climax, the cries are abruptly cut off, and the song falls into a loop of harsh electronics. It's an intense emotion that could never be paralleled with standard rock conventions. Beaches and Canyons is just one of those amazing albums that effortlessly sounds like no other-- definitely an experience for those looking to delve further into the heart of experimentation.

1. Seabird
2. Things Will Never be the Same
3. The Dream is Going Down
4. Endless Happiness
5. Big Drop