The Black Dog will release a four-track EP in January entitled Music For Dead Airports.
If that title sounds familiar, it’s because their 2010 album Music For Real Airports was so warmly received. The multimedia project presented in collaboration with Human was a follow-on to Brian Eno’s Music For Airports.
The four pieces that make up this new disc were penned in the group’s local Sheffield airports, parking lots and on the land where both used to be, “channelling what should have been, instead of the feverish nightmares they became.”
The album’s notes continue: “Sheffield has a terrible history with airports, both attempts have now failed. Sheffield City Airport was first proposed in 1968, but it wouldn’t open until 1997. Even the low-cost flight revolution couldn’t save it, the business model was based on high-fare short-hop journeys. To make matters worse, many of the aircraft operated by the low-cost providers couldn’t actually land at the airport. The last flight left in 2002. The airport was later sold for a very controversial £1.”
A second attempt – Doncaster Sheffield Airport – opened its doors in 2005, and lasted just 17 years.
The Black Dog produces finely crafted electronic music, and this new EP is no different. But Ken Downie and his bandmates have seldom taken the easy route, having challenged listeners on multiple occasions.
In the same way that Music For Real Airports was meant to elicit contradictory feelings (the album’s notes reference “tension and disappointment” as well as “romance and excitement”), Music For Dead Airports expresses the frustration and disappointment that comes with institutional failure.
Like other great records, this is a work of social commentary as much as it is art. It reflects Sheffield’s airport conundrum specifically, and so much more. The Black Dog has delivered another deeply relevant listen.
The new EP drops Jan. 6. A re-release of Music For Real Airports follows on Jan. 20.