Of all the improbably wonderful trends afoot in music today, one of the weirdest and most gratifying is the increasing acceptance of noise. Never in the 1990’s as a nascent fan of the genre did I predict bands like Animal Collective or Black Dice would emerge as the indie pin-ups they have become. Then again, the sort of noise those acclaimed artists are known for is a bit more restrained than the outright assault of pioneers like Merzbow or Whitehouse. Indeed the most celebrated efforts of from this new crop of cacophonians tend to be those that most fully embrace pop convention. Still it is exhilarating to hear such open adulation of sound. Black Dice member Eric Copeland’s Hermaphrodite strikes a buoyant balance between both extremes of contemporary noise. While the album doesn’t shy away from static and anarchy, it tempers those impulses with shimmering bliss. If noise were this consistently giddy and enjoyable it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see it showing up in children’s shows or cartoon soundtracks. This electric amusement park of sensory stimulation may prove overwhelming for a few, but more adventurous listeners will be thrilled by Copeland’s Animatronic wonderland of digital splendor.
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// Notes from the Road
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