Until Silence marks a monumental shift for Roll The Dice, in both sonics and psychogeography. The characteristic framework of piano and synthesiser is reinforced with a newly conscripted string section: dramatic arrangements grind against furnace blasts of static, and phases of unrelenting rhythmic intensity collapse into moments of frayed, fragile beauty. Roll The Dice’s most powerful and nuanced work to date, its tracks are by turns harrowing and searching, pushing the duo’s sound to monolithic, foundation-shuddering heights of ambition, scale and physical weight.
The Stockholm-based duo’s third album is the next chapter in an unfolding historical narrative, which Peder Mannerfelt and Malcolm Pardon began with their acclaimed self-titled debut. That first album chronicles its characters’ pastoral existence in a pre-industrial landscape. On In Dust, released in 2011, things had already taken a turn for the nightmarish – its darkened hues and mechanical rhythms trapped their characters in the drudge of working life in a fin de siècle industrial metropolis.
Until Silence’s dark and stormy nature undoubtedly strikes a chord at a time when the socioeconomic and political state of affairs gripping Europe and further afield is grim indeed, with austerity programmes, looming economic collapse, and the unsettling rise of far right agendas. Yet throughout, the music is pockmarked with flashes of light where proactive optimism for the future intermingles with nostalgia for fond memories buried beneath the rubble. Combined with its exploratory approach to sound design, these themes and ambiguities make Until Silence a work that feels uniquely of now. That Pardon and Mannerfelt have crafted so ambitious, deep and multifaceted an album isn’t necessarily a surprise given their acclaimed tenure as Roll The Dice to date. With it they continue to stake their position as one of the most fascinating and vital units currently operating in electronic music.