Sunday, December 21, 2008

Eric Copeland - Hermaphrodite (2007) + Alien In A Garbage Dump (2008)

I have long been a fan of the New York noise outfit Black Dice. Their unique combination of melodic noise and pop sensibility is undeniably original. They do to "Noise Music" what i've always wanted to do, or have someone do for me. As a result I naturally got very excited last year when Eric Copeland began releasing his solo work.

Hermaphrodite (2007)

Hermaphrodite is probably the best noise album i've ever heard. It's OK if you don't agree with me. This isn't your average noise album. It takes what Black Dice does to "Noise" and amplifies that. It's what you might expect if Justin Timberlake decided to do noise music. By that I mean it's "poppy" as hell. That being said, if you're not a noise fan then you'll want to take that with a grain of salt. This is still Noise by any definition.

As far as I know, Copeland spent a few years tinkering with his first solo effort before finally deciding on these 12 tracks, a euphonic mixture of radio loops, frequencies, various effects pedals, samples, etc. Though this is indeed a noise album, it's an extremely fun and, again, poppy one. It's noise you don't mind bobbing along to. I'll stop this ramble so you can enjoy it for yourself.

"It may be misleading to say that Hermaphrodite, the first solo album by Black Dice's Eric Copeland, is catchier than anything his band has done. After all, it's a noisy, predominantly abstract record. But there's a joyful swing and pleasant ease to Copeland's work here that no Black Dice album has quite caught. Rather that darting around implied destinations, Copeland is happy to settle into grooves, picking simple patterns and letting them blissfully churn away. The result is music that you can actually nod your head to, even when it challenges your grey matter.

Hermaphrodite's accessibility comes not just from its simplicity, but also its playfulness. Through bouncy rhythmic loops, sprightly vocal chants, and child-like melodies, Copeland crafts pieces that feel sunny and breezy even at their roughest. In that sense Hermaphrodite evokes Gang Gang Dance's early séances and Animal Collective's brighter rain dances. But it's even closer to the wide-eyed art loops of the Residents. Copeland captures that seminal outfit's primal beauty on tracks like "Wash Up", with its warped vocals and bubbly synths, and "FKD", with sneaky whines so Residents-like you can practically follow the bouncing eyeball." - Pitchfork review

1. Hermaphrodite
2. La Booly Boo
3. Oreo
4. Green Burrito
5. Wash Up
6. Spacehead
7. Tree Aliens
8. Scum Pipe
9. Dinca
10. Mouth Hole
11. FKD
12. Scraps


Alien In A Garbage Dump (EP) (2008)

So, this too is great. I found it somewhat different from Hermaphrodite, though that could be due to the fact that there was much less time spent on creating this. Still, I can't help but nod along to the rhythms Copeland creates with his mashed samples and vocal loops. Highly recommended listening for anyone remotely interested in Noise.

"Sometimes a song's title can tell you something. Case in point is the title track from the Alien in a Garbage Dump vinyl-only EP by Black Dice member Eric Copeland. As heard on his record last year, Hermaphrodite, Copeland is something of a sonic dumpster diver, finding weird bits of sonic detritus and then slapping them together into collages that can be both creepy and funny. Compared to where Black Dice has been with the last few records, Copeland seems to be in a comparatively maximalist state of mind, never finding any virtual audio tape that he didn't want to saturate with noise. He's also making music that seems to me a touch more pop and easier to latch onto on the first spin. "Alien in a Garbage Dump" begins with huge amounts of clatter and a sampled voice imploring "Just don't do it" in a never-ending loop that could be a cousin to the "Come out to show them" bit used in Steve Reich's "Come Out" all those years ago. It works through myriad small variations to the pulse of a bass hit, and then it comes out on the other side, squinting into the bright light of a for-real tune. Over "La Bamba"/"Like a Rolling Stone" guitar chords, a loose and melodic guitar solo brings things home. Ah, the wonders of contrast; you can find some pretty cool shit in a landfill." - Pitchfork

1. King Tits Womb
2. Alien In A Garbage Dump
3. Corn On The Cob
4. Osni
5. Scones And Bull
6. Reptilian Space Beings Shapeshifting Bloodsucking Vampires
7. Everybody's Libido



O W L E Y E S said...

fucking wonderful

Dead Dog said...

glad to help! merry solstice!

Ladyboy said...

Real alien hermaphrodite!
Grey humanoids porn right from UFO!