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23 December 2011

The Black Dog: Liber Dogma
The Black Dog: Liber Kult (Book 1 Ov 3)
The Black Dog: Liber Temple (Book 2 Ov 3)
The Black Dog: Liber Nox (Book 3 Ov 3)
The Black Dog: Liber Chaos (Book ov Aiwass)

(All available on Dust Science)

I hadn’t heard any of Michael Dog’s newer exploits as The Black Dog. He took such a long break after Spanners that I forgot all about the project. He revived it a few years ago with Martin Dust and Richard Dust from Dust Science Recordings, and if the tracks that comprise this album and collection of EPs are any indication, it’s put the project back on top. This is by far the most straight-ahead techno I’ve heard from the project, and it’s executed with perfection. Tracks are arranged to flow into one another throughout the album, though the ideas are discrete enough to work as separate pieces and parts. The trio has deftly crafted a real narrative arc here, beginning with a couple nice warmup electronic pieces (“Dark Wave Creeping,” “The Death ov The Black Sun”) and then lunging into a deep techy groove with “Steam Caliphate” and “Drop Kick Kali.” There’s a great balance between more aggressive, darker moments and more easy-going breathers, something that can be difficult to pull off so well on a techno full-length. For every couple of slick, uptempo numbers like “Black Maria” and “Worship: The Drum,” there are lower key resting points like the lush cascading synths of “Eden 353” or the the understated creeper “Feeder Rub Out.”

As if a stellar album wasn’t enough, The Black Dog also released 3 EPs plus an additional remix EP. The series starts off with Liber Kult, whose A-side “Black Chamber Order” is a tightly wound techno treatment of the opening track on the album. It’s a great indication of how context is everything — it’s quite effective here as a dancefloor burner but it sounds way more appropriate in its album form as an opening statement. The second installment is a little more rough and tumble… “Heavy Industry” lives up to its name, a heaving slab of machinery that has pumps and throbs. “Greedy Gutter Guru” is just as insistent if a bit more slinky in form. The Liber Chaos remix EP turns up the darkness a bit more with some contributions from top-notch and en vogue producers. Sandwell District, whose stable seems to do no wrong, puts its dark spin of “Dissident Bleep,” while both Sigha and Perc turn out minimal dark numbers. The most surprising entry is from Richard H Kirk (of Cabaret Voltaire fame, among numerous other achievements); his take on “Greedy Gutter Guru” splits the difference between The Black Dog’s original and the dirtier, leftfield funk of early Cabs.  But surely Blawan nails it with his heavy-handed, industrial rework of “Black Chamber Order,” turning up the distortion on just about all sides and throwing down a massive punchy kick. The remixes and EPs highlight the darker side of the spectrum quite nicely, a deeper shade than what’s explored on the album.

But the album outdoes it as an impeccably assembled assortment of ideas, shapes, sounds and forms. The techno album of the year? I think so.

Buy direct at DustStoreDigital.com

<a href=“http://duststoredigital.com/album/liber-dogma” _mce_href=“http://duststoredigital.com/album/liber-dogma”>Liber Dogma by The Black Dog</a>

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