As he does in his role as a guiding light of Black Dice, the mercurial Eric Copeland, on his sixth solo release, summons a strange sort of collage music that is both ramshackle and sleek, with seams exposed to show the myriad ways in which electronics can be manhandled, reassembled, and smoothed out to a shine. “Rokzi” opens with a staggering drum-machine beat and what sounds like a human voice stuck in a tight, confined loop, before the gates open and allow entry to an angelic sample graced with melody and a sense of space. “Grapes” follows suit with an even more prominent drum loop paired with a comparatively easy, luscious, bass-laden groove.
Taken together, the dizzying one-two punch lays out the sound that defines Joke in the Hole, which shows Copeland as an exploratory electronic artist increasingly in control of his gear. Parts of the album are danceable in a would-be techno fashion (“Kash Donation”; “Babes in the Woods,” after an extremely weird opening minute or so), and it hides lots of surprises as tracks zig and zag between passages that sound barely related to each other but are conjoined in ways that make sense. There’s a fascinating suggestion of logic to these pieces, even if that logic won’t do anything so logical as to give itself up.