Noise-rockers Black Dice visit Garfield Artworks this week | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Noise-rockers Black Dice visit Garfield Artworks this week

click to enlarge Noisemakers: Black Dice
Noisemakers: Black Dice

On an evolutionary timeline of experimental music, where Brian Eno would be a jellyfish and Beck a giraffe, Black Dice would be a late-Cambrian jawless fish called Haikouichthys. A slime-secreting chordate, Haikouichthys made subtle yet vital contributions to the cuddly, whiskered creatures that now walk the earth.

Brooklyn-based Black Dice, the similarly freakish electro-noisemakers, favor clouds of static, computerized jungle noises and pre-cognitive babble, but its influence chugs through the veins of a few of today's adored acts, such as Deerhunter, No Age and Animal Collective. The two most recent sugary-sweet Animal Collective records -- and those gorgeous bubbling textures on Merriweather Post-Pavilion -- trace their lineage back to a 2000 tour with Black Dice during which the now-superstars took copious notes from their sonic grandparents.

Black Dice has lost a few limbs since its conception in 1997 -- most notably drummer Hisham Bharoocha. His departure led the band out of the gurgling fog of the soundscapes on 2002's Beaches and Canyons and toward tighter, more beat-heavy arrangements that rely on texture more than progression. Black Dice still retains a few features from its hardcore turn-of-the-millennium days, but a steady dose of dub and Afro-pop in between studio sessions has softened them a bit.

In its 12-year evolution, Black Dice has absorbed and regurgitated nearly every genre into a lawless, asymmetrical hybrid. Now a trio consisting of bassist Aaron Warren, guitarist Bjorn Copeland and vocalist Eric Copeland, the band seems to inch ever further into techno territory, as evidenced by the gut-punching majesty of "Lazy TV" on 2009's Repo (Paw Tracks). While live performances no longer involve the torn T-shirts and bloody noses of its early years, a thrashing at a Black Dice show is still guaranteed -- even if it's now strictly aural.


Black Dice with Awesome Color, Dean Cercone and Burnout Warcry. 8 p.m. Fri., June 19. Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $8 ($10 at door). 412-361-2262 or

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