ONE OF THE REASONS I gravitated towards electronic music in the '90s was that it introduced me to crazy sounds I'd never heard before. From Mr. Oizo's stretchy balloon-fart sonic waves to sinister voice modulations and deconstructive anti-rhythms, IDM completely expanded the range of noises emanating from my speakers. Over the past several years, electronic composers have taken to more organic approaches of layering live instruments and samples over beats. While I have zero beef with this approach, it was wildly refreshing to get my hands on Mobius Beard, the forthcoming CD by Copy, a young Portland laptop wizard.
Mobius Beard's beats and rhythms are tight, like pre-Richard D. James Aphex Twin, which give the tracks a structured urgency. "Backward" works like a spine-popping "Axel F. Theme" with squeaky pitch shifts, layered handclaps, and a Kraftwerk-inspired bassline, while "Afro Oven" reminds me of a Miami Sound Machine song remixed by UNKLE.
Marius Libman, who records and performs as Copy, came to his current sound through a wide variety of influences. After spending most of his youth in front of a Nintendo, listening to these "crazy, squelchy analog synthesizer sounds," he played bass in various punk bands. His attentions turned to fusion jazz, but when Aphex Twin's Richard D. James CD dropped, he realized how badass electronica could be. His brother helped him get started making beats on his mom's PC, and Marius was hooked. A few years after it was released, he discovered Dr. Dre's The Chronic 2001. "That CD pushed me into more of a pop sensibility. Before that, I was in this Squarepusher mindset of showing off how crazy and complex you could get on the computer, but after listening to The Chronic, I became more interested in making good songs first, and showing off my skills second."