Headlining the CHIRP Radio event, Brooklyn's Black Dice kicked off their set with intense, throbbing bass and rapid-fire clapping. Wet, electric snakes warbled lines across bursts of fuzz and reverb-soaked caveman yawlp vocal noises. If that already sounds obnoxious and abstract, then this wasn't the set for you. Black Dice have built their reputation as an electronic deconstruction outfit by tearing sound apart and lacing it together. Sometimes that hodgepodge of musical influences and futurist thinking creates moments of carnal joy and brilliance, and sometimes it collapses under it's own weight. One of their most baffling and entertaining numbers evoked a dystopian zoo- moody pulsing and hip-hop muscle laying the framework for the cries of cyborg antelopes, flocks of squawking android birds and one lonely and loud robo-elephant. Abruptly halted by a sloppy dirge, the tune bubbled into a mucky Crayola swamp filled with gurgles, blips and house beats.
By the end of the show Black Dice had shuffled in almost every sound in their arsenal, but they'd lost some of the magic. During the last third of the set the island beats and tropical blurping had faded. Wah-wah melodies and walls of glob alarms gave way to looped zips and redundant bass. Maybe the high was wearing off, but even the band looked bored by the end. The last song, which hammered on a tight collection of noises endlessly, was a far cry from the laser swells and manic energy of earlier. I was left with a strange sense of relief and contentment at the end. Black Dice had taken me someplace fascinating and peculiar, but by the end it was nice to be home again.