The Black Dog
Ken Downie, Ed Handley, and Andy Turner formed The Black Dog in the early '90s in response to a declining rave scene dominated by lackluster hardcore and techno. After releasing a few underground successes on their own Black Dog Productions imprint (including the painfully limited "Virtual" and "Age of Slack"), the trio signed to Sheffield's infamous
Warp Records and released their '92 debut album, Bytes. In splicing runaway breaks with edgy synths, The Black Dog was slapped with the same "intelligent techno" tag as Autechre, B12, and Stasis. After a pair of albums, Temple of Transparent Balls in '93 on General Productions Records (GPR) and Spanners in '94 on Warp, and a slew of remixes for the likes of Bjork, Blondie, U.N.K.L.E., and Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Handley and Turner peeled off in '95 to form Plaid. Downie released Music for Adverts (and Short Films) in '96 then took a few years off before releasing Unsavoury Products in '02. Coupled with a fabulous website and featuring a distinctly tripped-out Black Sifichi on the mic, Unsavoury Products is a tribute to beatnik and drug-advocate William Burroughs. Dark and surreal, the album is a stoner's dream, but sadly lacks the funk of previous releases.