The Black Dog: Radio Scarecrow
The Black Dog and I have had a bit of a break from each other. I have no real idea why it has been 13 years since I purchased Spanners and therefore missed out on everything they’ve produced in between. This is despite keeping in some sort of touch with other artists which, back then, were lumped under the very dubious banner of Intelligent Dance Music (Aphex, Autechre, B12 and the like)
So it was with great pleasure that they got back in touch with me via their latest offering Radio Scarecrow. Drawn to it by promises of magick and the use of EVP samples, this album has been my main source of aural pleasure over the last couple of weeks. I’ve yet to give it the more intimate in-ear listening it deserves so I’m not in any position to judge whether or not one can get spooked by anomalous field recordings – although there is something going on in ‘Dials and Diallers’ with its ghostly voices and what sounds like Ice Cream Van chimes. However, I can state that Black Dog craft electronics in such an awe-inspiring way that Radio Scarecrow is going to shine for a some time to come.
Some might argue that this album isn’t particularly groundbreaking (in the same way as Burial’s Untrue might be). Admittedly, there is something early-90s here: the first half – more ambient, less jagged – brings to the fore memories of Rising High Records (Pete Namlook, Irresistible Force, and the like). Yet this might be due to a) my cloth ears and b) the aforementioned break I’ve had with them. From there on in though, until the piano-in-big-echoey-room refrains of ‘Ghost Vexations’, the beats become more edgy and the harmonies tower ominously.
Enough already. Go listen and then buy here: