The Black DogSpanners

Label:Warp Records – PUP CD1
CD, Album
Style:Techno, IDM, Ambient


3Barbola Work6:42
6Chase The Manhattan5:42
10Further Harm6:18
13Pot Noddle7:13
15End Of Time3:44
16Utopian Dream6:00
18Frisbee Skip5:25

Companies, etc.



Recorded at Black Dog Towers.

Thanks to the people who believed in us from the start, Adam, all black dog owners, Mr Budge [the first hippy], soya bean farmers, Udi and Vic.
Dogfarts to the people who didn't, couldn't, or wouldn't, people who think they can steal our music and get away with it, the CJB.
Apologies for letters received, but never answered. Paper, pens and the Post Office are all conspiring against us...

Distribution RTM/Pinnacle.
℗ 1994 Warp Records Ltd. © 1994 Warp Records Ltd.
Published by Warp Music/EMI Music.

Issued in a standard jewel case with six page foldout booklet.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Text): 5 021603 003927
  • Barcode (String): 5021603003927
  • Matrix / Runout (Variant 1): PUP CD 1 • MASTERED BY MAYKING
  • Matrix / Runout (Variant 2): PUP CD 1 • MASTERED BY MAYKING
  • Mastering SID Code (Variant 1): none
  • Mastering SID Code (Variant 2): none
  • Mould SID Code (Variant 1): ifpi 4B08
  • Mould SID Code (Variant 2): none

Other Versions (5 of 16)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Recently Edited
Spanners (2×LP, Album, White Label)Warp RecordsPUP 1 LPUK1994
New Submission
Spanners (Cassette, Advance, Album)Warp RecordsPUP LP 1UK1994
Recently Edited
Spanners (2×LP, Album)Warp RecordsPUP LP1UK1995
Spanners (Cassette, Album)Warp RecordsPUP MC1UK1995
Recently Edited
Spanners (CD, Album)EastWest Records America, Warp Records61806-2US1995


  • rillenrausch's avatar
    The definition tries to save the terribly stupid genre/style term "Intelligent Dance Music" by claiming that it was formed from the "Artificial Intelligence" compilation series. This is nonsense. It was meant exactly that other dance music should be devalued. The target group were rock fans and people from the art scene who didn't want to dance and couldn't either.
    • ruethewhirl
      Edited 10 years ago
      There are two things that need to be put down in the table before talking about this record: first, it is a tough one to get into, highly moody and with an overall dense atmosphere. Think twice before spinning it, as you might be in the wrong mood and it won't sound any good.
      Second, and i find this very important, i can't avoid a comparison with Bytes, the '93 compilation which, from my personal view, while clearly adapting the detroit techno soul, still covered a wider range of emotions and tastes, sounding like an exploration of the same eclectic field that Spanners would later define as a theme.
      It's intersting that one can still spot which tracks were made by whom, as it is known that the trio used to work separately (and Plaid still work this way nowadays). Chesh, for example, has Balil written all over it. Barbola Work does sound like it has a lot from Ken. Despite the method their intention was clearly to melt everything down to the same pot. The cover expresses this perfectly: a dog with one body and three heads. A better cover could not be imagined.

      Mystery has always been a word i am afraid of using, because it implies a certain thing i am talking about as if it were objective, but that i can't really explain. Spanners is for me like another egyptian myth, a civilization that fascinates me more for what i don't know about it than for what i know, in the sense that it doesn't need to tell you anything beyond the strictly minimum. It doesn't need to explain itself and tell its story. Spanners has born to become a myth in its own way.
      I can only imagine how this might have sounded back in the day it was released because, it has nothing to do with what was being done at the time, it's like it was produced inside a bubble, right when [detroit] techno was king. As of today, i think it still sounds way ahead of our time.
      Just like myths do.

      The acid lines, the only element that might sound instantly familiar in this music, is taken to extreme proportions: it is raw and almost filthy on Psil-Cosyin, but it can also be indistinguishable and blend perfectly like an instrument on Further Harm, it is hypnotic in Nommo, gets elevated to epic statute in Utopian Dream and sounds so happy in Frisbee Skip. I love it how the guys at the Black Dog Towers grabbed an element so related to the techno identity, and made it sound so personal and, most of all, eclectic. Barbola Work explores rhythms that are exotic in a dark, but also sexually engaging way. Utopian Dream is like the architecture of the temple of Hatshepsut, minimal in elements, grandiose and majestic in the way it is presented to the world. And Chesh finishes the record still feeding the mystery a bit more. It's a sonic organism. Notice how each melody keeps germinating from another one, and how they develop around axes, building a crescendo, sort of like droplets that are born from another bigger droplet and spin around it. It's one of the most emotional tracks i have ever heard. Last but not least, i couldn't forget about the little Bolt pieces, that act as antechambers of the record, as if the other tracks were rooms one would explore inside a pyramid, and they are for me, the most exquisite, alien and mysterious sounds of the whole record, and can't really compare to the long tracks. It's strange that they are called bolts tough, but it is indeed obvious that they are essential to the record as a whole.

      My dream is that in 20 years i can still be listening to it and have the exact same opninion, because Spanners was already born timeless and it is like a wild spirit that won't allow itself to be understood objectively, only in a transcendent way.
      • raxmus2's avatar
        Best electronic album of the 1990s. I can't think of anything that has topped it since, and I've got 11000 mp3s. It's a masterpiece. Nothing is as carefully crafted as this album.
        • Psyloid's avatar
          Edited 17 years ago
          The bolt parts that glue the tracks together are amongst the weirdest sounds i've heard. I found this CD in a shop halfway the nineties and i didn't know what to expect. It was my first meeting with the black dog, and i thought it was made by aliens from a far, nasty planet...
          Even today (2005) it remains one of the greatest masterpieces ever in electronic music.
          • sklbns27's avatar
            Edited 18 years ago
            You can't really call this an IDM record as it was out before people would call music that silly name. It's best ambient/chillout album ever. The mix is so soft and tame while the drums don't over drive the main groove. The sounds alone will take you on this journey that will make girls, guys, dogs, cats, moms, dads, brothers and sisters love this album for the years to come.



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