Until Silence marks a monumental shift for Roll The Dice. The characteristic framework of piano and synthesizer 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. The Stockholm-based duo's most powerful and nuanced work to date is by turns harrowing and searching, pushing their sound to monolithic, foundation-shuddering heights of ambition and scale. For Until Silence, Peder Mannerfelt and Malcolm Pardon enlisted Erik Arvinder to work on string arrangements for several of the album's tracks, which were then recorded with a 26-piece ensemble. Arvinder's contributions further heighten the natural cycles of tension and release that are cornerstones of the Roll The Dice sound. During the album's harshest moments, they sharpen every piano note and rhythmic sub-bass throb so the music cuts jagged from the speakers, while during quieter phases they carve open huge spaces within the music. Matching their use of orchestral instrumentation, Until Silence also pushes compositional methods further into uncharted territory. The influence of the duo's individual projects on the collective sound of Roll The Dice has always been tangible. Pardon, who works as a composer for film and TV, has a natural flair for evocative composition and narrative arc, while Mannerfelt is a remarkably skilled sculptor of electronic sound and bass tones. Mannerfelt's recent solo explorations under his own name, including the stark and brutalist electronics of his current Lines Describing Circles album, have clearly fed their own energy back into Roll The Dice--with Until Silence, they take the electronic core of their sound into harsher and more heavily processed textural domains. The dark and stormy nature of Until Silence strikes a chord at a time when the socioeconomic and political state of affairs gripping Europe and further afield is grim indeed. 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. 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. With it they continue to stake their position as one of the most fascinating and vital units currently operating in electronic music.
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