Further Vexations Releases Reviews/Quotes

Doggy DoCheck out all the latest reviews and quotes on our new release on this one single post, we’ll be posting the good, the bad and the ugly here for everyone to read.

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Quotes for Vexing EP

“…this Black Dog album may be clubbier but it’s right up there with the English School of Electronics.” Groove Magazine

“Not mincing words, Further Vexations ranks among the great UK electronic albums.” Album Of The Month – Update Magazine

“…yet again…there’s more bite to their bark than expected.” Album Of The Month – DJ Magazine

0093 is excellent! Indeed very Berlin. Technasia

0093 (Berlin mix) is the kind of track that shows the strength of the Black Dog.  A spaced out epic techno track that tells a complete story taking the music beyond the floor and into the imagination. Dan Curtin

Love The Black Dog, they never fail to impress. Meat Katie

Oh man. This is right up my alley. Dark, interesting, beautiful and driving stuff. All three are very lovely. I’m going to be rocking ‘0093 (Berlin Mix)’ and ‘You’re Only SQL (BCN Mix)’ like mad! Let’s Go Outside

The Milkfactory – Further Vexations
Almost a year to the day after the release of the rather impressive Radio Scarecrow, and twenty years on from Downie’s first ever release, The Black Dog is back, tail wagging, with another slice of dense and moody electronica, fuelled with classic Detroit flavours and self-styled Northern electronic soul attitude.

While Radio Scarecrow represented quite a departure from its predecessor, Further Vexations appears in many ways as a more in-depth exploration of a particular groove, as if the stones turned on Radio Scarecrow had, with times, brought to the surface much more subterranean life than originally found. On this latest offering, Ken Downie and brothers Richard and Martin Dust have laid out some pretty stark and dense soundscapes and continuously play with light and shade to give their sound its distinctive relief. After a somewhat rather serene opening piece, The Black Dog up the antes and get cracking, first with the deep pulsating 0093, then with the equally dark and ominous You’re Only SQL and We Are Haunted, the latter built around a rather more minimal combination of beat and bass than any other track on here, placing it at the intersection of Detroit and Berlin.

Later on, CCTV Nation appears to reference Downie’s early nineties playground, albeit with added drive, before the album enters a more peaceful second phase, where powerful warm sonic waves come crashing, one after the other, over subtle melodies to create a contrasted moody set. Starting with the blissful Stempel and moving on through the Northern Electronic Soul triptych before diving down into some beautiful atmospheric pieces, the trio still rely on strong beat and deep resonating bass formations, but the pace becomes progressively slower and broken as the end nears. The last three tracks in particular pushing deep into The Black Dog’s exquisite dreamy world. Here, the soundscapes become much more open and light floods in once again, hitting various angles to create rich colourful strips which become increasingly vivid to finally take their full effect on closing piece Kissing Someone Else’s D.O.G.

There is, like in many of The Black Dog’s releases, another dimension to Further Vexations, which is revealed through some of the track titles. Biomantric L-if-e and You’re Only SQL hint at the powerful information databases being used by governments in the name of security, while CCTV Nation spells out unequivocally how Britain especially has become a nation under constant surveillance. To complete the picture, the cover shows part of a fingerprint on a backdrop of video surveillance images and electronic voices can be heard listing, amongst other tings, ID cards, biometric measures and computer world at the end of Northern Electronic Soul Pt. 2.

With this latest offering, The Black Dog continue to dispense their beautifully polished blend of electronica. Faithful to the original scope of the band, yet resolutely modern and fresh, the Sheffield-based trio show no sign of mellowing.


Update Magazine – Further Vexations – Album Of The Month
After the cerebral trampoline of last year’s Radio Scarecrow, The Black Dog humped a punishing gigging schedule which has galvanised them into a more floor-friendly follow-up, but with an underlying message attacking increasingly-Orwellian Government tactics and public complacency at how our lives are monitored and controlled. This punk-style discontent manifests in the pressure cooker grooves underpinning piledriving tech-kneesups like ’0093? and ‘We Are Haunted’, the mix of boiling anger in the complex rhythms and spatial beauty of the strings often recalling Underground Resistance.

Seething emotions soar in tracks like ‘Stempel’ and ‘CCTV Nation’, the pounding grooves and intertwining textures swelling into glorious meteor-storms of rafter-swinging proportions which sometimes manage to enter the realms of avant classical. ‘You’re Only SQL’ carves a monolithic acid-funk path slashed with eerie strings and ‘Tunnels Ov Set’ hammers a slo-mo industrial dub-crash soundscape which closes the album on a suitably-ominous note. The timeless Dog have produced a work of astounding vision, terrible beauty and merciless dancefloor carnage, cocking a leg to techno glory once more but squirting out possibly their most complete work yet. Not mincing words, Further Vexations ranks among the great UK electronic albums.

Update Magazine – Vexing EP
Recent weeks have seen a frenzy of goat-milking and chaos so there’s a major pile including a few gems in danger of slipping through the net. Not this baby, which provides a taster of what’s to come with The Dog’s amazing new Further Vexations album. ‘0093’ sees them cock an ominously-pulsating leg at the dancefloor with huge bass bollocks a-swinging, hefty kick and disembodied voices intertwining with distant modern classical melodies and eerie textures, building into a sonic dust-storm of rafter-swinging proportions. ‘You’re Only SQL’ carves a monolithic acid-funk path slashed with eerie strings and a similar kind of bunker volley feel to UR when they take the gloves off. It’s contrasted by the pastoral calm of the non-album ‘Plinth’. Full report on the album next week but, safe to say, The Black Dog have made another milestone.

Wire Magazine – Further Vexations
There’s a rather melancholic, generally British, form of retro-techno purism who’s permissible musical inflences include Kraftwerk and Telex, Vangelis’s Blade Runner soundtrack, Kenny Larkin and Robert Hood, and Artificial Intelligence-era Warp – but almost nothing post-1994: no Garage shuffle, no Jungle breaks, no clicks ‘n’ cuts, not even any Jeff Mills-style distortions, just synth and drum-machine Techno. It would be easy to write this off as being deadening tendency, but in the hands of skilled enough operators like, say, B12 or Claro Intelecto, it can prove a fruitful discipline.

With their Dust Science label, Richard and Martin Dust have championed such pure Techno (no we haven’t) – their ‘Northern Electronic Soul’ slogan placing it firmly in a tradition of heartfelt Northern English reverence for past dance genres – and, as members of Ken Downies’s fourth line-up of The Black Dog, they have, after an unpromising 2001(sic) start, steadily worked towards optimisation of the sound. Following last years(sic), spectaculary morose Floods EP, this mainly continues thier winning streak, its elegiac melodies and clean lines belying not only dancefloor muscle, but darkly emtion weight. While certain tracks do indeed remain little but throwbacks, the final beatless suite of “Tunnels Ov Set”, “Later Vexations” and ‘Kissing Someone Else’s Dog”makes deep, unfliching intropection seem intensely inviting, while the highly unsettling distant riot sounds of “Dada Mindstab” and the palitation bass of “Hempel”(sic) show the retro-ism here to be anything but cosy nostalgia.

Milkfactory – Vexing EP
In recent years, The Black Dog have appeared rejuvenated and has found a new energy and dimension in brother Martin and Richard Dust, delivering albums and EPs with the confidence Ken Downie demonstrated in the early nineties. With a new album, Further Vexations, ready to be unleashed, the trio launch a first missive with this three track EP comprising of two tracks (0093 and You’re Only SQL) lifted from the album and beefed up to dance floor musculature, plus a third exclusive ambient piece, Plinth. Downie and crew have always  favoured the gracious flow of Detroit style techno, but these days, the edge, on EPs at least, while still retaining a strong sense of texture and atmosphere, is a bit sharper. This is certainly the case with the Berlin mix of 0093, which kicks off here. Beyond its minimal appearance and linear beat hides a relentless groove driven by a heart-stopping bass, which never falters during the nearly eight minutes of the mix. Over this occasionally hangs a swift little melody, which, despite its fleeting aspect, contributes to the alienating effect of the track. You’re Only SQL is even harsher in its BCN guise as it circles around rarefied melodic and atmospheric debris, stomping moodily to the beat, throwing electric discharges up and down the spine with each new step. Plinth in comparison is a heavenly piece the way The Black Dog know how to create. in just two and a half minutes, the trio create a subtle and delicate little vignette bathed in warm glowing light. Beside the strong narrative of their full lengths, The Black Dog have consistently revealed much sharper and immediate tones and forms with their EPs, and this latest offering is no exception. Offering a first reading of their forthcoming album, the trio show once again that they are still very much at the top of their game.

ireallylovemusic – Vexing EP
track listing : 0093 [berlin mix]/you’re only sql[bcn mix]/plinth
prior to the much anticipated release of the new full length, further vexations, by re-energised the black dog comes this cracking ep.
combining 2 remixes from the album, and one slab of ambient mellowness, the collective are whetting my appetite somewhat.
i’ll admit that when i saw the track listing i was a little concerned that by using the phrase “berlin mix” that they were surfing on the supposed zeitgeist of the berlin effect aka minimal techno central, but fear not, a quick piece of virtual detective work meant that i was honoured with the following factoid : “it’s called the berlin mix because we remixed it in schönefeld  airport…laptops out, wireless on….”
rock-n-roll excess in all its glory.

while the black dog holds a certain air of legendary status due to the influential releases that came out in the early 90s, i would suggest that the current autobahn that the band are travelling along is providing ambient techno that is quite literally perfect (track down last years album radio scarecrow for further evidence of this claim), where the combination of foundation rattling bass production (a sign that they have been listening to dubstep) and ear pleasing melodies never ceases to impress.
such excellence is continued on this 12″ ep.
for a start, the “berlin mix” is fantastic.
starting off very quietly, the track soon morphs into a beast of a track with a brilliant combination of modern day speaker moving thump and classic techno bleeps.
think richard h kirk.
think kraftwerk.
think ‘i need to get this’.

second track, while dropping hints that they are all a bunch of database surfing nerds, happens to be a more aggressive slice of techno. audio filters are applied to the predominant synth line, while the beat is underpinned by more of the bands trademark ambience and bleeps. the mood is a lot more dark and distressed, making the track a worthy soundtrack to any dark-n-scary alien shoot’em up session.
rounding off the ep, plinth, is a short but beautiful track that calms and soothes the shredded nerves, providing a perfect ep closer.
the new album is released in exactly one months time.

let the countdown begin.