Inga Copeland, Don’t Look Back, That’s Not Where You’re Going

[World Music]

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That’s not Inga Copeland on the label adhered to her EP. That it sort of looks like her shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, though. Her and fellow Hype Williams lifemate, Dean Blunt, revel in such sleight-of-hand sensibility — scantily dressed bodybuilders included. The smile worn by the woman on the front of the record, however, happens to be worth noting. An image search for Hype Williams and the included members reveals the furthest thing from smiles. There’s ambiguity, consternation, hella weed smoke, and minimal pleasantries, which is fitting because those descriptors also apply to the duo’s music. So that the sheepish grin would come attached to this selection of three songs from Copeland’s forthcoming debut solo album for their newly minted World Music imprint, three songs that find her perking up a bit from the aforementioned dregs, is only appropriate.

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And this isn’t to say Copeland has suddenly become Katy B. There’s still a phlegmy coat of dread blanketing the proceedings. But her recruitment of veritable bass superstars Martyn and Scratcha DVA for production duties lends itself to an uptick to heights she’s never before challenged. And though I wouldn’t go as far to say “danceable,” “shuffleable” would certainly suffice. “So Far So Clean” bears a low-slung gut of a rhythm, ideal for Copeland to utterly detach herself as only she does. Through the pocket of drums, she murmurs like a sheepish Ella Fitzgerald. It’s as strong of a vocal take as we’ve seen by her standards, and impressive by anyone’s standards, really. There’s a return to the familiar on “Speak,” as she plies through a hearty garble and distorted synth jut. The track elevates into bleak techno territory at the halfway mark of its four-minute runtime, producing a seeming missed opportunity by not allowing it burn for at least twice that length. “A&E” is more buoyant, but only in the sense that a bag of rocks is more buoyant than a lead weight. A warped organ riff and simple drum click pattern afford her a platform to wax off-kilter. Considering Hype Williams have always existed on the absolute fringes of the electronic landscape, even this slight step towards the floor is worth perking up for. But given their fondness for ever stepping away from our expectations, it may not be worth reading too far into.

Blair  on March 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM

This is really nice, reminds me a lot of Kristin Hersh from the Throwing Muses.

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