Who Is Experimental Music? What a great question, asked with experimental grammar. Lolina is Russian experimental musician Inga Copeland who also makes up one half of art duo Hype Williams with Dean Blunt. It would seem that Lolina knows the answer to her question and that answer is Lolina. Not on label, comes with labels handwritten in fluorescent marker. 

Limited Vinyl LP £13.49 £11.47 LOL 006

33rpm/45rpm LP - not on label. Comes in a high gloss sleeve with labels handwritten in fluorescent marker.

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Who Is Experimental Music? by Lolina (Inga Copeland)
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7/10 Fred MG 20 February 2020

On her recent records as Lolina the shitpost tendencies that were tamed in Inga Copeland’s previous projects have been allowed to run free. With an anti-music ethos dictating proceedings, Lolina LPs have often smirked at notions of structure, harmony and listenability.

However, never has Copeland made anything quite as wry as ‘Who Is Experimental Music?’. This one is confounding from the off - aside from a truly ‘wtf?’ title, the album comes ‘labelled with fluorescent marker’ (i.e. drawn on) and can be spun at both 33rpm and 45rpm, gimmicks that seem to shrug away the idea that this music is to be regarded with the solemn severity reserved for much ‘experimental’ fare. Furthermore, the album’s cover artwork imitates/mocks the image used for Death Grips’ 2015 LP ‘The Powers That B’, a record whose garbled fury makes for a strangely fitting predecessor to ‘Who Is Experimental Music?’s impenetrable glitchings.

And impenetrable glitchings they are. ‘Who Is Experimental Music?’ is almost exclusively comprised of Steve Reich-type phasings, stubborn and blunt and hardly changing across run-times that sometimes clock in at over seven minutes. As the cover art indicates, this is hypnotic trash, garbage sound that only barely qualifies as music - something felt most keenly in the circling-the-drain loopers which form the middle of ‘Who Is Experimental Music?’. Even ‘Let Go’, the only thing here that even approaches form (let alone ‘song’ territory…), is a strange semi-locked groove which is at once all rhythm and yet has no real discernible beats.

Like looking at an abstract painting, all this uncertainty means that you start to draw your own conclusions. Is the title-track meant to sound like an MC toasting over jungle, or is it actually just garbled gibberish? Do we detect a comment on Burial’s obtuseness in the stutter of ‘Let Go’? Trying to parse this stuff only puts your deeper into a space of uncertainty, lured into Lolina's snare by a need to find resolution and meaning in art that simply does not give these things up. As a passive listener to 'Who Is Experimental Music?' you're very much playing Copeland's game.

In being so wilfully obtuse, so impossible to appraise, ‘Who Is Experimental Music?’ feels like the logical conclusion of the Lolina project - maybe even of Copeland’s entire career up to this point. Or, you know, maybe it's just getting started. That, I reckon, is the point - you never know whether you are coming or going with this music, whether you are in on the joke or not, whether it is earnest or nonsensical. As the second track’s title indicates, this stuff is ‘Good Or Bad’, both and neither at the same time. You may not like it, you may not get on with it, but you will certainly come back to it. And that’s a win for Copeland.



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