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Eric Copeland - Limbo

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Artist: Eric Copeland

Album: Limbo

Label: Underwater Peoples

Review date: Jul. 24, 2012

As one of the gnashing ‘n’ looping electronics trailblazers behind Black Dice, Eric Copeland has played a heavy-handed role in re-making and re-modeling his hometown New York’s D.I.Y. warehouse and loft underground since the band bloomed in the early 2000s. Originally a maniacal and violent fusion of hardcore and noise obliteration, Black Dice underwent a major facelift when, in 2002, the then-quartet (rounded out by Eric’s bro Bjorn, Aaron Warren and long-departed percussionist mastermind Hisham Bharoocha) assembled the epic deconstructionist dreamscape maelstrom Beaches and Canyons, equipped not with guitars but with damaged synths at its core. As a result of Black Dice’s vision, the Brooklyn landscape was altered and made safe for the likes of Animal Collective.

But for Copeland, using and abusing synths in Black Dice isn’t his only gig. He’s been making forays into the solo lexicon since 2007. From the noise-infested abstractions of Hermaphrodite (2007) to the ungodly detour into colossal sound fuckery on Alien in a Garbage Dump (a comp collecting two prior EP’s) before redemption on the beats-heavy popcentric groove wattage of Waco Taco Combo (2011) and the Whorehouse Blues 7”, Copeland consistently reinvented his manifold guise over the last five years.

He’s done it again on Limbo, a dense and intrepid spread that has the Black Dice’r jamming wads of ideas and wrinkles into each of its six songs, and nothing is more reflective of that bustling chaos than opening track “Double Reverse Psychology.” Like a DJ mashup of samples on an epic scale, Copeland’s eight-minute-and-change sprawl squelches and belches its way from one dramatic made-for-the-dance-floor shapeshift to the next, cramming a mélange of ideas into a dizzying fervor of bendy beats and schizoid doo-woppy warbling.

After the sonic tantrums of “Double Reverse Psychology,” the rest of Limbo toes the straight and proves the antithesis of that fractured mayhem. The repetitious disco-isms of “Louie, Louie, Louie,” the twisty propulsions of “Muckaluk” and the ass-shaking demonic funk of “Fiesta Muerta” are all challenging and jarring, yet melodious and wacky.

At this point, differentiating the solo excursions of Copeland from the ‘mersh inclinations of recent Black Dice feels a little pointless. While the former’s music will always be met with more anticipation, the man and his band clearly share a trajectory. Limbo could have passed as a follow-up to this year’s excellent Mr. Impossible, and likely would have met with the same acclaim.

By Brad Cohan

Other Reviews of Eric Copeland


Alien in a Garbage Dump

Joke in the Hole

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View all articles by Brad Cohan

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