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Eric Copeland

Strange Days

[Post Present Medium; 2010]

By ; August 6, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

As the core member of New York trio Black Dice, Eric Copeland is no stranger to experimental soundscaping. Teamed up with Animal Collective member Avey Tare to form the side project Terrestrial Tones, Copeland was able to create a true sense of sound as an encompassing atmosphere. But with his third full-length solo album, Copeland takes a step away from soundscapes and instead moves to the less familiar space of schizophrenic sound production. Strange Days is far too spastic and fast paced to develop any rational or cohesive soundscape, and Copeland would not have it any other way.

Limited to just 500 self-designed, silk-screened copies, Copeland and label mates at Post Present Medium are aware that this album is not for the weary at heart. A first listen will be tempting to fans of rising artists like Sun Araw, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Julian Lynch. But these artists are strong embracers of slow, patient progressions that ultimately bring a singular and repetitive concept to the forefront. Rather, Strange Days’ fast paced noise is more comparable to the most abrasive moments of Tim Hecker’s oft overlooked 2009 album An Imaginary Country or even pre-Night Ripper Girl Talk. Nonetheless, Strange Days is no less gratifying than such contemporary ambient artists, and equally as mind-altering, while ultimately less meditative.

Strange Days has a similar effect to driving in the back seat of a car, victim to a front seat passenger with A.D.D. who keeps changing the radio dial every five to ten seconds. While at times this two-track, 35 minute long LP may become unlistenable, bearing the brunt of the experience is half of the fun. There is a small reward in every moment that you identify a particular field recording, feel the moment of a fleeting groove, or scratch your head at what the hell that hypnagogically familiar sample might be. And Copeland is truly relentless—once started, Strange Days will toss you around until its finale.

So with fair warning I advocate investigating Eric Copeland’s Strange Days before the limited edition LP becomes a high stakes eBay tussle. At the very least, you won’t ever get another chance to the transitioning of the sound repeating gong, to the rhythm of a distorted disco beat, and back again to the tones of a malfunctioning synthesizer. Or was that actually the sound of water falling on a tin roof? This puzzling juxtaposition of natural and manufactured sonic tones is invaluable, as it forces the listener to confuse and in turn reconsider what is natural and what is digital, and in today’s technoculture how exactly to define those terms. With each listen of Strange Days the resultant mood will depend strongly on the listener’s state of mind, at times bringing a serious headache and at others great gratification.


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