Roll The Dice is a duo from Stockholm with a shared love of Tangerine Dream and the moody moments when metal and Goth-rock collide. Peder Mannerfelt is perhaps best known for producing Fever Ray, Malcolm Pardon was a bit-part Brit-popper (Kinky Machine) who makes TV and film soundtracks in Sweden. Together, as Roll The Dice, they fuse beats and pieces from electronica and rock to journey around ambient soundscapes (Haunted Piano) and through the heart of pulsing, surging NIN-esque sonics (Assembly). Here, with latest album, Until Silence, they’ve perfectly realised the vision as teased out on previous releases.
Aided and abetted by strings this time – the framework so often is still trickles of piano, a supporting synth line, eventually a calm circle of ostinato presents itself – Roll The Dice might be making the best soundtrack album for a film you’ll never see.
Blood In Blood Out is the opener and that piano figure is clear instantly – the pulse of the tune. Atmospherics roll and twist, lithely, blithely, only eventually growing in intensity. It’s across the following tracks, Assembly and Time and Mercy, where Blood In’s intro starts to make even more sense – there’s a story-like flow to this album, a slow, purposeful sonic-build.
Coup de Grace increases the urgency and moves the sound toward the more obvious oscillations associated with dance music – but this is still electronica in conceptual mode. Closer to the dark, nearly evil sounds of The Haxan Cloak and Tim Hecker (particularly on Aridity) than the Jon Hopkins-like pounce and pull; moments arrive that reference the Trent Reznor soundtrack feels (particularly Wherever I Go, Darkness Follows) and traces of the Bowie soundscape created for 1. Outside.
This is music that hides in the shadows, music that’s almost borne of shadows, born in those shadows. And the closing lurch of In Deference has a nearly Aphex Twin-like feel to its treated piano lines, it’s static blips, its slow, menacing creep.
Plenty to like here – a very immersive dark-ambient glow pervades.