Close your eyes while watching an old Tom And Jerry cartoon and all the crashes, bangs and wallops could be the most avant-garde music Stockhausen never dreamt up. Similarly, close your eyes while listening to some of Eric Copeland's records, and all the thumps and drones seem to project the bright explosions of Hanna and Barbera's imaginations onto the back of your eyelids. Copeland is a member of Black Dice, a group whose malformed grooves have long skirted the fringes of the dance floor; the manically-sliced rhythms on Copeland's own solo efforts, like 2012's Limbo, had him edging ever closer. The manically-sliced rhythms on Copeland's own solo efforts, like 2012's Limbo, had him edging ever closer. Joke In The Hole sees him taking a running jump right into the middle.
But like a cartoon character crashing through a wall, Copeland leaves his own unmistakeable imprint throughout. The rhythms might be recognisably house or hip-hop, but Copeland pulls and squeezes their structures like accordions. "Rozki"'s backpedalling techno beat turns into what sounds like a wild hoedown. "Tinkerbell," meanwhile, stumbles drunkenly along on a slurred and greasy bassline before throwing a fit of manic breakbeats reminiscent of Wagon Christ. These early tracks all feel like about 20 different tunes bound together with elastic bands—and the production is fittingly replete with rubbery clicks and snaps.
After that, though, Joke In The Hole almost seems to fall apart. The opening tracks are all longer than four minutes, but most of the rest are bitesize chunks. "Bobby Strong" is basically just a filtered house loop that feels like it's been cut out the middle of another record. "Kash Donation" and "A Little Tit" are half-formed filler. In the great pop art tradition of his hometown, Copeland is an accomplished collage artist adept at combining the highbrow and the trashy, but when the individual bits are laid out on their own they can seem a bit throwaway.
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Tracklist: Eric Copeland - Joke In The Hole01. Razki
04. Flushing Meats
05. Babes In The Woods
06. Bobby Strong
07. Shoo Rah
08. Cheap Treat
09. Kash Donation
10. Little Tit
11. New Leather Boogie