Oneohtrix Point Never
Magic Oneohtrix Point Never
As Oneohtrix Point Never, bedsit electronica composer Daniel Lopatin has made over a dozen records now – including film soundtracks, and maybe he truly broke big under his own name with the soundtrack to Uncut Gems; one of those rare movies where Adam Sandler is ‘good’ and not just for Adam Sandler fans. So I wonder if his return to the Oneohtrix alias brought with it some expectations and a new – wider – audience; the music being so crucial to Uncut Gems, so prominent and so mind-bendingly good.
Well, at any rate, and it’s probably because this is – by virtue of when and how it was made – also his Covid Record Magic Oneohtrix Point Never is very much an album of consolidation and contemplation. It’s not (just) a repeating of previous steps, it’s not only a forward glance to where he might be going next – it’s somehow both all at once, even across the same tracks as they’re playing out.
If you think of Lopatin as the Aphex Twin you can book to curate your art gallery’s sonic mood board then The Whether Channel is a new highlight. If you’re expecting him to be the creator of maudlin, winter-sun gauzy-pop – a la Sebastien Tellier – then No Nightmares is your new dreamy vocoder favourite. And if you want the weirder, beatless and bonkers Aphex-isms then there’s Tales From The Trash Stratum.
You have heard this “magic” from Oneohtrix on Age Of and before that on R Plus Seven – but if you are new to him he’s not-quite-ever-repeating himself and allowing you a chance to catch up in one handy album that bubbles away deep within its own internal pulse.
There are some deep, deep cuts here too – Imago is a weird and wonderful wash of textures, as if someone submerged a Ryuichi Sakamoto film-piece, the way one might take a cymbal and dunk it as its struck, to make something altogether familiar and brand new at once.
Mostly what I love about Oneohtrix Point Never’s music is that he appears to be able to give a direct sound to feelings. There is hope and heart here (Wave Idea), there is repressed anger (I Don’t Love Me Anymore) and none of it every feels self-pitying, it always feels like a way through, a working out of an idea as much as the finished idea too. You almost see the inner workings or at least the ways in which they were worked out as you hear the finished composition.
The closing track on this subtly extraordinary album is called Nothing’s Special. It builds and slowly builds, it creeps alone as if still alien to this earth and hoping to pass for human music without fully being discovered.
There’s something so bewilderingly calming about how Daniel Lopatin constructs and creates his music. That, then, in the end is the Oneohtrix Point Never magic.
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