It has taken me ages to get hold of this debut release from Swedish duo Roll The Dice, partly because of the ridiculously small vinyl-only quantities that were released. The absence of a digital version makes sense though, this album is all about the A N A L O G U E.

Roll The Dice came into existence after Malcolm Pardon and Peder Mannerfelt (The Subliminal Kid/Fever Ray), who share a studio in Stockholm, decided to produce a few tracks together. Each was created over the course of a single day, with no predetermined concept. No drum machines were involved, no computer tinkering, each tune solely being assembled from synth and piano. Herein lies the beauty of the album; very simple music developed from a simple palette, focussing on the rich and expressive voice of analogue synthesis.

Genre-wise you would probably shelve them beside the current wave of synthesizer music; personal favourites Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never. The music on display here though does not have the sonic complexity of Emeralds or the variation of OPN. John Carpenter would be a better reference, Roll The Dice preferring to focus on a single pleasing noise or riff then build the track up subtly in pulsating, repetitive layers. The problem here of course is that most of Carpenter’s film soundtrack pieces lasted a couple of minutes at most, whereas tracks such as Swing span over 9 minutes and the ideas begin to wear a little thin.

Album opener The New Black begins things with a moody, atmospheric arpeggio which suggest, now I’ve tuned into John Carpenter, the ominous arrival of a gang of camply dressed street punks. Instead a piano appears, and duly begins to dance among the synth. Although it doesn’t develop far beyond this, it’s expressive tones are enrapturing. The aptly named synth-calypso of Guadeloupe takes the album in a totally different direction. The track is built around a quirky synthesised steel-drum noise and reflects the album concept at its most successful.

Usually I would recommend you go out and buy this, but you can’t unless you want to spend eBay prices. Kindly, Digitalis have made the two highlights available for download (right-click to save).

Roll The Dice – The New Black
Roll The Dice – Guadeloupe

Watch Digitalis for news of a reissue.