Album ReviewsReviews

Eric Copeland – Limbo

on June 11, 2012, 7:57am
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Eric Copeland and his brother Bjorn have been at the core of Brooklyn electro-noise standouts Black Dice, and Eric also makes up half of Terrestrial Tones (along with Animal Collective’s Avey Tare). But when Eric steps out on his own, he does so right into the deep end. His chopped and screwed, spacy drones are a further unhinged version of his work elsewhere, and that’s wonderfully evinced on his new LP, Limbo. Each track is composed of a couple of handfuls of disparate samples that get twisted and warped and then blended together into a surreal collage, morphing like a dizzy techno-cloud for five or so minutes each. These compositions are mind-bendingly intriguing, daring the listener to try to make sense of them.

Opening track “Double Reverse Psychology” plays out like some sort of insane electronic storm, movements coming one after another, each delivering a theme and then fading away. It’s almost as if the eight-and-a-half-minute-long track is composed of 12 40-second songs that just wound up getting smooshed together into one to save space on the back cover of the album. “Louie, Louie, Louie” builds a groove at its outset that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Black Dice disc, a reggae groove sped up and looped, droned over by analog synths. But instead of building to a manic mountain of layers, the thing coalesces in a low isolationism thanks to strange, vocoded noises, and a few synth squeaks.

One thing that Copeland’s particularly adept at is twisting samples of people talking into unrecognizable, surreal, mantra-like sound to loop over his warped soundscapes. On the claustrophobic “Muckaluck”, a now barely recognizable voice is made into a mush of bass-y nonsense, adding to the insanity. When the voice is just barely able to be identified as such, the ear strains to figure out what the hell is going on, to piece together some sort of semblance of what is being said. We attempt to find a pattern in the nonsense (both in the vocals and in the music itself), to figure out what this is supposed to be saying. But Copeland is there at the knobs, twisting things just out of our reach.

Essential Tracks: “Muckaluck”

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