Loco Dice – Seeing Through Shadows

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  • Tribal? Minimal? Tribimal? Pygmy? (minimal tribespeople, yagetme) Loco Dice has an interesting pedigree – like DJ Koze he originates from the shady and mysterious world of German hip-hop. He’s better known as a DJ than as a producer, thanks to a residency at DC-10 and last year’s mix CD releases, one of which, ‘Green and Blue’, was with His Majesty Ricardo, reigning prince of techno (apologies to Blake Baxter). I wanted to slam this due to an irrational dislike of anything vaguely associated with the word ‘tribal’ – Danny Tenaglia has bored me to tears at least one time too many… But I can’t hate - this is an excellent release. The title track has a subtlety that really creeps up on you and before you know it you’re tapping your feet and zoning out listening to the intricacies of the music. It’s unusual in its use of soft, rounded kicks and conga-ish sounds to build up a gently lolloping groove. There’s a jazzy, undulating riff that weaves its way in and out of the track morphing eventually into more insistent and high-pitched strings. And of course there are the requisite chirps and hisses that all techno producers are mandated by law (or Ableton) to use these days, deployed with a light and tasteful touch. Showing admirable patience, Loco Dice waits until three quarters of the way through to drop in a disco bassline which completes the package. B-side ‘Backroom Melody’ is less danceable, but musically even better. Truly minimal, there is loads of space within the track, particularly in the fantastically spooky percussion. The melody of the title is a delicate affair which sips cocktails in the company of some nicely chosen whirring and echoing noises. It’s unlikely to get bodies moving, but is a great atmosphere builder for early in the night or for relaxing with at home. Overall this is a beautifully balanced release with everything feeling nicely placed and coordinated. A very good builder for DJs who play any style on the groovier side of house and techno. Trance and schranz fans can safely avoid.