Black Dice - Biography
In the dystopian kingdom of experimental noise rock, the members of the band Black Dice have carved themselves a niche as noise scientists. Unlike their peers, the Brooklyn quartet possess a unique penchant for dissecting the various layers and components of noise and re-assembling them into structured sonic experiments that reach outside the noise rock realm into arenas of ambient beauty and electronic oddities. Make no mistake, Black Dice are still as hard, loud, and dissonant as any hardcore band. They just make their music using nontraditional instrumentation that often culminates in inspired results. As is the case with most noise rock outfits, Black Dice started out wallowing in the limited parameters of screamo before branching out into the various realms of experimental music. The brainchild of brothers Eric and Bjorn Copeland, the band formed in 1997 while Bjorn, Hisham Bharoocha and Sebastian Blanck were attending the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1998 the band relocated to NYC, lost Blanck and recruited Aaron Warren to replace him on bass.
After releasing the debut single Lambs Like Fruit (Gravity Records) in 1998 and the EP Semen of the Sun (2000 Tapes Records), the group was signed by New Jersey-based indie label Troubleman Unlimited. Their debut self-titled ep, Black Dice (2000 Troubleman Unlimited), relied on their screamo pedigree with varying results, while beyond the avalanches of distortion, Black Dice were also experimenting with avant-garde electronic squalls. The Cold Hands (2001 Troubleman Unlimited) split single with Erase Errata was the first release to feature the band’s electronic/noise rock hybrid and its inspired sound caught the attention of the fledgling label DFA Records, who signed the group that year. Their sophomore album, Beaches & Canyons (2002 DFA), found Black Dice all but abandoning screamo for an electronic-based racket akin to the noise-punk sound coming out of Japan. Around this time Black Dice also began building their own electronic sound effects equipment, which included the “Korg Koas Pad” and the “DOD Gonkulator,” amongst other oddities.
Creature Comforts (2004 DFA) was an elaborate mix of electronic sound effects, found sounds, and tribal percussion meticulously produced and recorded to be the group’s “headphones record.” On a side note, drummer Hisham Bharoocha left the band before the release of Creature Comforts to pursue other projects. Although the volume was turned down a notch, Broken Ear Record (2005 DFA) continued the electronic-experimentation-meets-tribal-percussion bent as heard on Beaches & Canyons. Black Dice returned in 2007 on the Animal Collective label Paw Tracks for their fourth full length, Load Blown, which injects post-rock melodies into their experimental sound and is arguably the band’s most accessible release to date.