The Black Dog Book of Dogma

Proto-IDM project the Black Dog have existed in various incarnations since the late ’80s but it is the version of the group that featured the trio of Ken Downie, Ed Hanley and Andy Turner that’s been drawing revisionist interest recently. In 1995, Turner and Hanley left to pursue more playful, upbeat bedroom beats under the name Plaid, while Downie kept making music as the Black Dog, which has been ceremoniously ignored since 1996’s Music for Adverts. Downie’s Black Dog are still making music, if anyone’s interested. That said, Dog revisionism is not without merit — that 1989 to ’95 period was a golden age of opportunity for electronic music and the Black Dog did as much to push the form’s boundaries as their Warp peers in Autechre and Aphex Twin. Certainly 1992’s Bytes and 1995’s Spanners still rank amongst electronica’s early masterpieces. Listening back over Book of Dogma’s two discs, this collection of early and rare EPs is most notable for its "anything goes” sample happiness, with everything from early hip-hop to Detroit techno to jazz organ thrown into the mix — there were no rules in place. Of course, one would hope those aforementioned albums would get the reissue treatment soon, as they are simply much better. Much of Book of Dogma now sounds dated and anyone approaching this material without nostalgia or a sense of its context is likely to shrug it off as a Fatboy Slim slush pile. However, these records once put the Black Dog in the same league as the Warp family’s highest echelons. (Soma)