Eric Copeland: Hermaphrodite
Paw Tracks

Perhaps the most striking thing about Eric Copeland's first solo album, Hermaphrodite, is that it effortlessly manages to sound both ancient and contemporary at the same time. In twelve songs, the New York-based Black Dice and Terrestrial Tones member twists his material—much of it presumably samples—into radically disorienting shapes that seem to emanate from some bizarro universe. Copeland often anchors the songs with tribal rhythm patterns, and then layers material over top that might have started out ‘normal' but is thoroughly diseased by the time he's through mangling it. “La Booly Boo” uses African percussion and gamelan patterns to effect a drunken whirligig, a sped-up babble of chanting voices turns Chipmunk-like in “Wash Up,” and what might have been supplicating voices becomes a choir's hellish howl in “Dinca.” The raucous garage punk of “Green Burrito” seems to vaguely suggest a demented Scottish jig, while “Scraps” sounds like confused radio transmissions from a mentally deficient tribe. Titles like “Tree Aliens,” “Mouthhole,” and “Scum Pipe” convey the warped character of the material all by themselves. Hermaphrodite is a sonic match for the incoherent lettering arrangements displayed on its cover.

September 2007