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Eric Copeland

Alien in a Garbage Dump

(Paw Tracks; US: 18 Aug 2009; UK: 31 Aug 2009)

Since Eric Copeland is one-third of the sonically abrasive Black Dice and an occasional collaborator with critical darlings and noise-pop group Animal Collective, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Alien in a Garbage Dump. The title itself is a dead giveaway. This collection of two previously vinyl-only EPs shows the workings of a mind that was lost either in paranoid schizophrenia or an obtuse psychedelic experience or somewhere in the middle. Every track is a looped piecemeal of melodic fragments, channel surfing, and ready-made noise. Yet for a collection of songs without anything resembling songwriting polish, each sound collage is tied to a steady beat, with the sheer absurdity of the sounds deftly dodging any potential boredom.


Despite its lack of clear form, the compilation consistently avoids devolving into pure grating annoyance or novelty, unlike the oppressive Avey Tare & Kría Brekkan travesty, Pullhair Rubeye, and so many shockingly unskilled and expectedly unsigned indie electronic acts currently playing at sushi restaurants across North America. That said, it is hard to give Alien in a Garbage Dump that much credit as a true album. There is nothing approaching a melodic or lyrical theme to be found. It is a collection of aural noodling designed mostly out of chance rather than intellectually and/or emotionally. Thus, it is best enjoyed as an experiment rather than a possible purveyor of memorable singles and easy fun. From that point of view, it is an achievement that Alien in a Garbage Dump is as accessible as it is, considering the facts of itself.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.


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