Eric Copeland Alien in a Garbage Dump

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Styles:  noise
Others: Black Dice, Excepter, Raccoo-oo-oon

If Black Dice’s recorded output represented a flirtation with the immediacy of hip-hop and electro forms from within a resolutely noise-oriented context — prior to Repo, that is — then Eric Copeland's Alien in a Garbage Dump makes analogous moves toward something approximating songcraft, while retaining the more sample-based aesthetic of Repo and Copeland’s solo work in general. Despite technically being two EPs bundled together, the album keeps a fairly cohesive approach, laying its focus on panoramic melodies bundled into dense pockets of the noisy splatter that Copeland’s full-band work made its name on. Though the lyrics themselves are often rendered unintelligible through layers of reverb, harmonics, and electronic haze, there’s quite a number of tracks with melodies distinct enough to make the idea of singing along not entirely ridiculous. Despite his frequent disregard for meter and his reliance on degenerating sounds into electronic pulp, Copeland crafts a remarkably unassuming and congenial album.

This congeniality springs from a kind of breeziness in tone, with Copeland refraining from fully undermining the basic functioning of the pop elements he allows to bubble up from within his dense constructions. There’s something immediately pleasurable in the way a shimmering, sweeping guitar and a kazoo from outer space emerge from and cut off the claustrophobic cluster of voices that make up the majority of the title track and its preceding companion piece. Together, the two tracks form an entirely meaningless point/counterpoint weed treatise, with “King Tits Womb” looping “Anyone else want some marijuana?” into absurdity and “Alien in a Garbage Dump” repeating the same trick with a “Just don’t do it!” There’s something charmingly dismissive in the way the space kazoo cuts off the non-debate that precedes it, nullifying the inane content through, but the pair of tracks mostly comes off as just playful for the sake of being so.

It’s this playfulness that ingratiates some of the album's comparatively trying and unfocused moments, such as “Corn on the Cob,” a loping little bit of processed twang in search of a rhythm. Since Copeland never goes out of his way to be directly “difficult,” the track comes off as pleasingly tossed-off rather than actively irritating. Alien in a Garbage Dump sounds like the work of a noise veteran relaxing and trying out whatever comes to mind, tossing out ideas without worrying if every one of them sticks. And in this case, this approach yields considerable rewards, the noise equivalent of summertime jams. When “Al Anon” shows up with a full-on group chorus, it invites you in and asks you to sing along, even if you can’t understand a word of its smeared melody.

1. King Tits Womb
2. Alien In A Garbage Dump
3. Corn On The Cob
4. Osni
5. Scones And Bull
6. Reptilian Space Beings Shapeshifting Bloodsucking Vampires
7. Everybody's Libido
8. Auto Dimmer
9. Al Anon
10. Narc
11. Lunar Bad Land
12. Wolfman
13. Muchas Gracias

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