Eric Copeland

Trogg Modal, Vol. 1

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Trogg Modal, Vol. 1 is described as more carefree than Eric Copeland's previous album. Given the fact that that one was called Goofballs, this one seems like it could be really tossed off and jokey. Copeland's material often seems spontaneous and playful, and this album upholds that spirit, but there's way more concentration on rhythm than on some of his previous outings. Goofballs and Black Bubblegum were much more lyrical than Trogg Modal; here, vocals generally appear in the form of distorted fragments. The album immediately establishes its perky, flippant mood with "Mateo," a simple uptempo beat filled with scattered vocal loops and synth bleeps. "321 Contact" is a minimal synth tune bringing to mind the Normal's "T.V.O.D.," with sinister vocal murmurs tucked behind its racing rhythm. Things slow down a bit for the drowsy thump and drizzling keyboards of "Heads," but the wobbly "Build-A-Brain" revs back up, with ratty hi-hats whirling over an insistent groove filled with echoed snares. "Fresco" is more representative of the outsider house sound common to Copeland's sometime-label L.I.E.S., with eerie disco strings peaking out of the tinny drum machines and detached synth squiggles, and a distinct lack of polish, yet it's not caked in grimy tape hiss like the work of some of his contemporaries. Nowhere near as bizarre or druggy as earlier Copeland releases like Alien in a Garbage Dump, Trogg Modal is still far removed from conventional dance music, but in that context, it's also one of the artist's more accessible recordings.

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