Black Dice – Mr. Impossible

written by: April 19, 2012
Release Date: April 10th, 2012


In honor of “Late Night” host David Letterman’s 65th birthday recently, here are the top ten reasons to throw Mr. Impossible on your turntable:

10. Because Black Dice are neither Puppy Paws nor A Pair of Sunflowers. In fact they are anathema to both, and don’t care who know it. To wit, “Pinball Wizard” is less of The Who and more Jimi Hendrix and his trained Jingle Cats, whereas “Rodriguez” is more like Yello infiltrating the Art Of Noise, only they’re taking a chainsaw to a synthesizer, not a piano.


9. Jesse James is robbing the Railroad Nine, on his way to see Nina at the marina in Pasadena. If Rammstein is your valentine like Gertrude Stein was mine, then Black Dice will split your spine right down the Rock Island Line. The vocal sound on the first single, “Pigs” is reminiscent of Ministry’s Al Jourgensen on “Stigmata,” albeit it if the tape was chopped up, thrown on the floor and spliced back together, “Benefit of Mr. Kite”-style.


8. A square pair Black Dice are not (they’re actually a trio at this point), and they aren’t winning any rewards for easy listening. If anything, the opposite is true. Fifteen years into their existence, Mr. Impossible is their sixth record, and although they started as a thrash/noise group, they have more of an electronic orientation at this point in their evolution.


7. Up pops the devil, and it’s “Spy Vs. Spy,” a sonic anthem stretched to the limits like the band on a pinball flipper about to crack and give way. Started by guitarist Bjorn Copeland at Rhode Island School of Design in 1997, the group now calls Brooklyn home and has long-since added Bjorn’s brother Eric as a full-fledged member on “vocals.”


6. Busting Jimmie Hicks from the sticks. Have you ever wished the Imperial spy with the prominent proboscis (Garindan, for the nerds out there) had been sucked into the turbine of a pod racer and blended up into Bantha fodder? This is the sound of that.


5. Little Phoebe being bombarded by bruising digital dodge balls, boarding box cars (turning) out of mind. Not to belabor the “Star Wars” analogies, but if you’ve ever fantasized about torturing a jawa on a medieval rack, then “Brunswick Sludge (Meets Front Range Tripper)” could well be the sound of that.


4. Little Joe from Kokomo is either stuck in a spinning centrifuge or being ground to bits in a squeaky blender. In either regard, his choice of a tutu as appropriate garb is ill-advised, if irrelevant. “Outer Body Drifter” borrows the electronic echoed castanet sound of Ministry’s “Every Day Is Halloween.”


3. Little Deuce Coupes: Because rayguns are not just the future, they are (in the here and now) a key mole-like agent that can dig apart the gardens of earthly delights found in both early and later Ministry records equally. If you like the image of Snoopy fighting the Red Baron, then Mr. Impossible might be the one to put out your dog bowl for you, or at least fly your religion into a kite-eating tree. On the aforementioned “Brunswick Sludge” one can almost hear the mournful beagle howl; or is that an adult talking? There’s no adult supervision here, for sure.


2. Snake Eyes: Because the Butthole Surfers’ foray into electronic dance music is way overdue. It’s illuminating to consider this record as a punk approach to electronic music, but there’s nothing bare-bones about this. Indeed, often the “music” has to fight through the challenging and dense polyrhythmic percussion to be heard.


1. There is no number one. This is dice! If there was a number one, it would be a die, which is kind of like the spitting image of what one wishes for after listening to this record more than once. But like dying, it’s better the second time, never boring, but not something one would wish to repeat too much. For the soundtrack to the next “Groundhog Day,” even Sonny and Cher would be preferable. Mr. Impossible grows on the listener over time like a fungus, it’s just a challenge to tell if the result will be a delectable truffle or a death cap mushroom. If difficult listening is the opposite of easy listening, then Black Dice are on a roll and will leave the proverbial craps table of difficult music with a stack of winnings in hand.

Black Dice – Mr. Impossible tracklist:

  1. “Pinball Wizard”
  2. “Rodriguez”
  3. “The Jacker”
  4. “Pigs”
  5. “Spy Vs. Spy”
  6. “Outer Body Drifter”
  7. “Shithouse Drifter”
  8. “Carnitas”
  9. “Brunswick Sludge (Meets Front Range Tripper)”