Published Jun 30, 2014The Black Dog have embarked on a new project guided by a strict sets of rules, inspired by the Japanese principles of Itamae, master chefs who are chiefly associated with the preparation of sushi. In Japan, learners of the craft spend five years observing the methods of the Itamae before they are delegated any tasks directly related to the preparation of sushi or other high-end Japanese food. Students follow strict guidelines set out by the Itamae, and it's this adherence to rules that Martin and Richard Dust have chosen to philosophically replicate as Application.
Sharp, digital textures dominate the timbre in each of the album's ten tracks, which fall somewhere between heavy, industrial techno and more experimental ambient works. Each track on System Fork is impeccably produced, as you would expect from a duo who've honed their craft for over 20 years while remaining primarily based in techno. However, the album comes off rather homogeneously as a work of dark, uniform techno that, while tight and polished, doesn't quite have the same emotive intensity as their best work as the Black Dog. Stronger works ("Steve Reich's Ice Cream Van" and "Front End" are particularly wonderful in their balance of soft melody and technological intensity) are offset by a few more forgettable pieces that, while produced fantastically, don't give enough of an emotional impression to create any lasting effect.
Still, System Fork is an intellectually stimulating album. Application is a project restricted by rules that produces more variety than many of the rule-less electronic acts producing music today, and with a live show in the works to complement the wide-reaching spaciousness of the album, it's definitely an act worth catching in person. (Dust Science)