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roll the dice - In Dust
After stealing our hearts with their 2010 debut on Digitalis, Roll The Dice have signed to Leaf for their sophomore LP, a richly emotive and highly personal collection of analogue synth instrumentals. As even RTD's most ardent fans would corroborate, thus far out-and-out innovation hasn’t been at the top of the agenda; their extraordinary first album was created firmly and lovingly within a tradition, namely that 20th century canon of cyclical, contemplative Kraut electronics headed up by Kraftwerk, Cluster, Schnitzler, Tangerine Dream et al (und alles?). The new album is more expansive. For a start, there's an increased dynamism and propulsive energy - and a heightened sense of dub-space - that immediately marks out 'In Dust' as a post-techno endeavour. Not that RTD's considerable acumen is used to create airtight and soulless sound design: for this record, they've rejected shiny surfaces, choosing instead to introduce - as its title suggests - a dusty quality to the overall production. At first this subtly hypnagogic treatment gives their compositions a kind of nostalgic glow, but soon the darker character of the new work comes to the fore: if their debut conjured rolling hills sparsely populated with wind-turbines and grazing sheep, In Dust is all about the claustrophobia and paranoia of the metropolis. There's a grinding, industrial vibe to 'Dark Thirty' and the climax of 'The Skull Is Built Into The Tool', a real sense of dread to 'Iron Bridge' and 'Maelstrom' - bucolic whimsy has been replaced with urban decay, and it works. Recorded in Sweden, mixed in Norway and exquisitely mastered by Pole in Berlin, In Dust is perhaps an all too tragically apt soundtrack to Northern Europe's current widespread soul-searching.