Copy Hair Guitar

[Audio Dregs; 2007]

Styles: } grinding synth jamborees, electro house, 8-bit video game soundtracks
Others: Ratatat, YACHT, a fun Aphex Twin, Dan Deacon

Minimalism is the shit. On Hair Guitar, Marius Libman (hereafter known as Copy) deconstructs the conventions of standard electronic fare and then constructs them again, and when he dusts his shoulders off after the ribbon-cutting ceremony we can glance up to see the building’s peak crack the stratosphere. Nothing about Copy’s music is mind-meltingly original or a first-ever in a genre where first-evers are never, but his method of super-glue glazing it all together in a sturdy and vibrating ball is his throne of achievement. It’s a relentless attack of house beats channeled through the speakers of a club attended by bob-ombs and koopa troopas. This all translates very well into 40 minutes of blipping and blooping bliss. That’s not to say his approach’s surface doesn’t have a few slight dull spots on the waxy sheen, but it’s easy to glance right over with your eyes closed and your tapping toes moving in ways you can’t even understand. Also, the fucking stratosphere is leaking. Thanks, Copy.

The remorseless “Fist” is the first out of the gates and up to bat, and it’s brought Copy’s A-game. The initial driving beat eventually slips enough for a dreamy synth twinkle to find its way in and make it a lovelier engagement. It’s the main menu sequence to this surefire best console seller of the year. “Assassinator” is the underwater adventure level. Piranhas are patrolling the deepest waters and you’re such a bad ass you’re holding your breath for six minutes, no problem. The song sounds like it was pumped full of bubbles and they, along with your virtual representation, are struggling to escape the gaping beak of some mighty squid. “Could You Like Her?” is the insanely hard bonus round where think fast buddy you’ve got to get as many of those rings as you can before a single wrong move sends you back into the tedium of level to level progression. Sure the rapid pace and blinding colors aren’t helping you concentrate any, and oh your goodness this music is making your palms sweat anguish. “You Can Not Believe It” is the big boss battle, and he’s a hulking and snarling robotic mess 40-feet high, but you’re feeling confident and as if a lightning-quick jolt of luck is going to strike your button-mashing combos.

Copy hail from Portland, Oregon, and it makes you wonder when exactly it was that The City of Roses mutated like Seth Brundle in Cronenberg’s The Fly into a fat and sweaty italo disco club. Digestive fluids and preserved fallen body parts aside, it’s no complaint. However, there is something missing in this 8-to-16-bit pie and it involves sweatbands and sweet kicks (if you’re really serious about it): The record doesn’t have much danceability. Don’t be mistaken, your chair will be rocking every which way furiously, sure to give even the carpet rug burn, but ultimately there won’t be any hormone-fueled grinding in the living room (unless the cat’s on your lap; please take the cat off your lap). The album is a couple hairs above being an IDM excursion, with all the positive or negative connotations that come fully equipped with that title. Either way Copy’s produced a sweet little treat. Injected straight into the vein or taken orally, Hair Guitar is a swift collection of tunes your Nintendo DS wishes it was capable of shaking out.

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