copeland Because I’m Worth It

[Self-Released; 2014]

Styles: steam rises, esteem might
Others: Dean Blunt, Actress, Laurel Halo

I listen to the whole Dean Blunt/Inga Copeland complex in the same way some people watch FOX News; I don’t care what the truth really is, and even if an objective version of the truth came before me, I’d probably reject it out of hand. Even though new Hype Williams material seems to be on the (ever-ephemeral) horizon, their increasing divergence as artists has blown out the personal depths of their respective personalities while somehow not displacing any of their mystique. While Blunt solo so far has seen him trace out Barry White levels of heartbreak in digital wet cement, Because I’m Worth It is a much dustier channeling of self-assertion. If you’re into spinning a narrative out of this (and god knows we’re all trying to), Blunt’s taken the anomie forward, while Copeland’s got the punch and the groove. Call this “(Venice Dreamway)” for a catwalk where all the lights are off.

But yeah, even if it’s hard to disentangle the two, Inga Copeland — known on this release as copeland — has an extreme gift for taking the raw, brute component parts of club music and making them enervating, desperate, and new, and the best parts of Because I’m Worth It come when she’s engaging with this through her voice. The Actress collab “advice 2 young girls” sees her use grime and her sticky, abstract monotone to subvert every trad. piece of advice a 16-year-old girl will ever get (“Sneak out of your room… walk the streets… face the night”). It’s one of the saddest, strangest, and most uplifting marriages of speech and electro around, sort of like an “In My Room” made to play next to “Born Slippy.” Rivulets of bright, blurry synth run through squalid blobs of synth, like a girl with streaks in her hair descending a tenement staircase.

From the title down, Because I’m Worth It is about staking out territory. “Faith OG X” sets the tone for this by prickling along for a while before unleashing some ~intense~ high-frequency tones that are about as solid at demarcating the in from the out as Fred Durst attempting a guitar solo. On fellow highlight “Fit 1,” she disembodies a beat and messes with the flow while tossing off abstract, threatening quatrains (“Make fire with gun/ It’s a smooth operation [sound of car taking off]”). Elsewhere, there are vivid tonal colors (the opening sections of “insult 2 injury”), but that and the other more interstitial material (e.g., the R.I.P-esque “Serious”) doesn’t feel as fully realized as her vocal tracks.

In “Inga,” copeland sings “The significance in what we do… everything’s being judged in numbers/ Looked at,” so that number at the top of this page isn’t going to and shouldn’t mean anything more than you want it to. If you’re already on the trip, then this will tickle you; like every other Hype Williams affiliated statement so far, it comes as a concrete, solid planet to get lost in. This tends more toward the Venus-sized. So be it.

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