The Black Dog (band)

Black dog}}The Black Dog is a British electronic music group, founded in 1989 by Ken Downie along with Ed Handley and Andy Turner. The group are considered pioneers who, along with acts like Autechre, Aphex Twin, and LFO, came to define the UK techno movement in the early 1990s.

In 1993, the group signed to Warp Records and released their debut album Bytes. In 1995, Handley and Turner departed the Black Dog work on their spin-off project Plaid, leaving Downie to continue recording under the name. The band's early EPs were collected on the 2007 compilation Book of Dogma.


Early career

In 1989, The Black Dog was unable to find a label to back its releases and started its own, Black Dog Productions, which released four vinyl records including the acclaimed Virtual. These were followed by a number of EPs on the General Production Recordings label. The Black Dog released their first full-length album Bytes on Warp Records on 15 March 1993. The albums Temple of Transparent Balls (GPR) and Spanners (Warp) followed. The music was often produced under a number of different names, such as Close Up Over, Xeper, Atypic, I.A.O., Balil and the Discordian Popes. The group did numerous remixes, notably for Björk, with whom it collaborated on "'Sweet Intuition" (a B-side on the "Army of Me" CD single) and "Charlene" (a b side on the "Isobel" CD single).

In the early 1990s, Downie was also running a bulletin board system called Black Dog Towers.

In 1995, Handley and Turner left to focus on Plaid but Downie continued working as The Black Dog on his own for a while, releasing the solo album Music for Adverts (and Short Films). With new management, and an increased vigour, Downie then teamed up with Steve 'Hotdog' Ash and Ross Knight ("thek1d"). Though they completed over a dozen critically acclaimed remixes during this period, only one album was ever released: Unsavoury Products featured the talents of Parisian beat poet Black Sifichi on vocals.

Current line-up

In 2001, Downie teamed up with Richard and Martin Dust, owners of the label Dust Science Recordings. Since then, they have started to play live again and have released eight EPs and four full-length albums on Dust Science. Their first album, Silenced, was released in 2005. The second, Radio Scarecrow, was released in 2008 and was very well received and nominated for DJ Mag's Best of British 2008.

The follow-up to Radio Scarecrow, Further Vexations, was released in 2009. It was described as having a dark cynicism of Orwellian practices of government and the passivity of the general public. "We’ve helplessly watched with mounting horror, while the government trashed the country, signed away its sovereignty to Brussels (with a flourish of a specially minted silver pen), sold off precious national industries and assets at next to bargain basement prices, and indulged itself with two utterly pointless wars which it couldn’t afford," the group stated on their home page.

In May 2010, the Black Dog teamed with creative agency "Human" to create Music for Real Airports, described by them as "a contemporary reply to Brian Eno's work from the 70s". While Eno's album is well known for being peaceful and sedate, The Black Dog intend theirs to be tense and bittersweet, saying "This record is not necessarily a comfortable listen. But it captures the spectrum of emotions stirred by airports."

Side projects

The initial lineup kept themselves busy with numerous alter-egos and side-projects, including Echo Mike, Close Up Over, Xeper, Atypic, I.A.O., Plaid, Balil and the Discordian Popes. 1993's Bytes compiles an album's worth of tracks by these side projects under the mantle of Black Dog Productions. Of these side-projects, only Plaid continues to be active.

More recently, the current lineup of The Black Dog (Ken Downie with Martin and Richard Dust) have collaborated with Psychick Warriors ov Gaia on a new ambient project called Dadavistic Orchestra. Taking inspiration from the Dada artists of the early 1900s, Dadavistic Orchestra have issued an album and two EPs, offering limited edition gelatin silver prints in homage to avant-garde photographer Man Ray with early copies sold via mail order.



Ken Downie with Ed Handley and Andy Turner:
  • 1993 Bytes (as Black Dog Productions)
  • 1993 Temple of Transparent Balls
  • 1995 Spanners

    Ken Downie solo:
  • 1996 Music for Adverts (and Short Films)

    Ken Downie with Steve Ash and Ross Knight:
  • 2002 Unsavoury Products (feat Black Sifichi)

    Ken Downie with Martin Dust and Richard Dust:
  • 2005 Silenced
  • 2008 Radio Scarecrow
  • 2009 Further Vexations
  • 2010 Music for Real Airports
  • 2011 Liber Dogma
  • 2013 Tranklements
  • 2015 Neither/Neither
  • 2018 Black Daisy Wheel
  • 2018 Post-Truth


    Ken Downie with Ed Handley and Andy Turner:
  • 1989 Virtual EP
  • 1989 Age of Slack EP
  • 1990 Techno Playtime EP
  • 1991 Parallel EP
  • 1992 Vir²l EP
  • 1992 Vanttool EP
  • 1999 Peel Session EP (recorded 1995)

    Ken Downie solo:
  • 1998 Babylon (with Ofra Haza)
  • 1998 Plan Black V Dog (with Gustavo Cerati's Plan V)

    Ken Downie with Martin Dust and Richard Dust:
  • 2005 Bite Thee Back EP
  • 2005 Trojan Horus EP
  • 2005 Remote Viewing EP
  • 2005 The Remixes EP
  • 2006 Riphead EP
  • 2007 Floods EP
  • 2008 Set to Receive EP
  • 2008 Detroit vs. Sheffield EP
  • 2009 Vexing EP
  • 2009 We Are Sheffield EP
  • 2009 The Vexing Remixes EP
  • 2010 Thee Lounge EP
  • 2010 Subject to Delays EP
  • 2011 Liber Kult (Book 1 ov 3)
  • 2011 Liber Temple (Book 2 ov 3)
  • 2011 Liber Nox (Book 3 ov 3)
  • 2011 Liber Chaos (Book ov Aiwass)
  • 2013 The Return ov Bleep EP
  • 2013 Darkhaus Vol. 01 EP
  • 2013 Darkhaus Vol. 02 EP
  • 2013 The Return Ov Bleep
  • 2014 Werk+Play EP
  • 2014 Exhibit 1 & 2
  • 2018 Shards Ov Light


    Ken Downie with Ed Handley and Andy Turner:
  • 1995 Parallel
  • 2007 Book of Dogma

    Ken Downie with Steve Ash and Ross Knight:
  • 2003 Genetically Modified (with Black Sifichi, remixes from Unsavoury Products)

    Ken Downie with Martin Dust and Richard Dust:
  • 2006 Thee Singles
  • 2008 Thee Singles Volume 2
  • 2010 Final Collected Vexations
  • 2014 Liber Collected- Book Ov Law