R Plus Seven
Daniel Lopatin’s latest as Oneohtrix Point Never won’t surprise people already enticed to his sound – a strange new world of non-dance music or head-music constructed and created from elements that might otherwise make dance music; he’s Aphex Twin as art gallery soundscape curator.
This time around it’s less about strange beats/non-beats and pieces poking and prodding and pulling in different directions – instead it unfolds in a Kraftwerkian manner, one track following the next – an album build piece-by-piece, so that the quite Philip Glass-like Americans moves along from Boring Angel and pulls itself into He She, before the very filmic Inside World sets up Zebra. And on it goes – easy to drift off to, and along to, to get lost in – but not so much to get lost by or with. For this is a purposely built sound-world, an excursion that might actually be his Life in the Ghosts of Bushes – so skeletal and fractured is it at times (Along).
Then when there’s an announcement (Problem Areas) it sets up the next phase (Cryo), punctuation of sorts. It seems Lopatin is working at making music as an experience, a mood-enhancer, and embalmer – and what’s telling about R Plus Seven is that for every genuinely affecting moment – like the gorgeous, tranquil closer, Chrome Country, it is an album that plays out with something of a shapeshifting feel to it; it bends and blends to suit your mood.
For everyone that will be impatient with this, that won’t hear what they want to hear instantly there’ll be others that will take this on and hear different things different times. It can give across a different energy – sometimes so perfectly unobtrusive, other times wonderfully challenging.
That might be the album’s greatest strength, like a living, breathing work of art, Oneohtrix Point Never has captured something, pinned it down, etherised it – but hasn’t stripped away the heart. It still beats. It still dreams of flying off, fluttering at the least. And under the microscope it appears subtly different every time.