Release Date: Nov 13, 2015
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient, Pop/Rock
Drawing inspiration from his recent world tour with Nine Inch Nails, Daniel Lopatin's latest effort is particularly dark and abrasive. At times, Garden of Delete sounds like a rock album trapped inside the electronic format, with an obscured vocalist making appearances throughout. By harnessing the loud-quiet-loud formula of '90s alternative, the album achieves total chaos and clarity often during the same song, as harmonies are constantly demolished and rebuilt using different parts.Of course, unpredictability has always been a hallmark of the OPN sound.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. I entered through a network of wires. A constant buzzing sound rattled my ears and unsettled my nerves. In this place you have to move quick, fear lurks in every corner. Nothing dies here. Everything continues moving and droning in a senseless ….
In Photo-Fiction, a Non-Standard Aesthetics, Francois Laruelle clarified a compressed view of his aesthetic theory, one evolving from his ideas on non-philosophy and non-Marxism. Simply put, Laruelle wants to revoke the attitude of approaching art through an assumed philosophy, presumably an assumed process of “decision making” that splits a subject from interfacing non-philosophically — perhaps naturally — within an immanent world. Laruelle’s inquiries into the non are essential, not only as attempts to deemphasize the interlocking webs of symbols and predilections that plague art-making and consumptive processes, but also because they resonate with the simple pursuit of denial — to sabotage the glistening structures of canon, discourse, and assumption that dominate the movement of artists: those shining towers that demand delete.
"Frameworks of taste rely on dumb and great things to exist in concert with one another," Daniel Lopatin wrote earlier this year in an essay about the easy-listening saxophonist Kenny G. Reflecting on his own work as Oneohtrix Point Never, he noted, "I tolerate dumb things sometimes in a kitschy way, but mostly in a sort of zen way, wherein stuff is suspended in a myopic ooze of raw nowness that is beautiful and gross at the same time. " Ooze seeps from every pore of his new album, Garden of Delete: It is slathered all over the video for "Sticky Drama", and it erupts from the pustules of the adolescent humanoid alien, Ezra, who is the album's hero.
Three minutes into “Sticky Drama”, the fourth track on Oneohtrix Point Never’s new album, Garden of Delete, a whole puberty unfolds in miniature. A high-pitched voice starts speaking, cracks, and then plunges into an unintelligble sub-bass. “What’s wrong with the world?” it asks before its words are slashed apart by beats of serrated synths.
During the recording of Garden of Delete, Daniel Lopatin (alias Oneohtrix Point Never) was fortunate enough to befriend a blemish-blighted adolescent loitering near his underground studio. The boy, Ezra, was in fact a “humanoid alien stuck in an infinite loop of molting puberty caused by enigmatic stuff beyond comprehension”. In a PDF message to his fans which began circulating in August, Lopatin revealed that Ezra eventually vanished, leaving only a data stick filled with mystifying MIDI files and a vial of glowing blue acne in his wake.
Thirty-three-year-old electronic musician Daniel Lopatin looks at human feelings like he's crafting a Swiss watch. Recording as Oneohtrix Point Never, Lopatin works with simple piano lines and thick distortion to sketch detailed maps of emotional states from joy to despair. With sounds like those, it was no surprise when Trent Reznor brought him on the road as an opening act on Nine Inch Nails' tour with Soundgarden last year.
Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin is the kind of artist you expect to keep evolving, even if exactly how he evolves on each album is unpredictable. That said, he still throws listeners a few curves on Garden of Delete, an album inspired by his adolescence and his 2014 tour with Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden. Any expectations that this is OPN's "guitar album" are quickly dashed: Lopatin's palette is far wider-ranging, incorporating aspects of his previous albums (as well as a nod to his work as Chuck Person on "ECCOJAMC1") and elements of metal, trance, R&B, and Top 40 pop that, when combined, feel unmistakably like Oneohtrix Point Never.
It starts with an ache in the knees. Herky limbs sprout and overdevelop. A skittering gait turns into uncomfortable and awkward locomotion. A voice creaks, cracks, and drops. Middle-school health class can teach you about the strict biology of puberty, but you can’t fully learn the mind-expanding ….
Since Richard D. James first plunked out esoteric keyboard melodies and launched ambient IDM into mainstream consciousness, few producers have been as consistently creative and adept at establishing mood as Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin. He makes abstract electronic music, often employing interesting and jarring production techniques like sudden stops, skips, and the occasional blast of incoherent noise.
Dan Lopatin has it all. The Brooklynite started out playing a Roland Juno-60 in tiny Boston gallery spaces, and now attends to a mini-empire—fostering young artists with his Software label, enjoying massive creative freedom from Warp, scoring films, and taking to the road with Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden. The latter experience shaped Garden Of Delete, a record that dares the listener to turn from its integration of garishly uncool grunge and symphonic metal with broad electronics.
There seems to come a point in many an artist’s career where they simply cannot resist a good concept, as is undoubtedly the case with this latest album from the ever resourceful Daniel Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never. The music collected here, easily the most scattershot, lurid and wayward in Lopatin’s catalogue so far, apparently explores the life of a teenage alien called Ezra. For these adventures, Lopatin has also imagined a fictional band called Kaoss Edge.
Daniel Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never, spun a rather tangled yarn when providing context for his forthcoming album Garden of Delete. This included a five-page PDF file where he told an odd story of meeting a collaborator named “Ezra” and name-dropped an obscure band known as Kaoss Edge. Looking at the official website of Kaoss Edge, Oneohtrix Point Never fans went on to assume that it was a fake band that Lopatin just thought up one day.
Perhaps a little playfully, Daniel Lopatin has suggested that Garden of Delete is his pop album. It would certainly make a change to hear Radio 1’s Greg James announce a hot new chart entry for Sticky Drama – a fusillade of howls, distortion and pneumatic percussion, leavened only by snippets of harpsichord – but it seems unlikely. What Lopatin has really done is to introduce snatches of poppy vocal and the odd synthesiser hook into his world of challenging electronica.
“It made me realise I wanna be in the world,” said Daniel Lopatin after touring with Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden. ‘Garden Of Delete’ is the album that was born out of this idea – the record that he wants “the kid that works at the mall to like.” It was a predictably unpredictable move. Shapeshifting has always been at the heart of what he does and his Oneohtrix Point Never project has seen him experiment with radical new sounds and textures with almost every record.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Daniel Lopatin has continually defaced the rigidly austere standards of electronic music with a nihilistic streak. Curiously enough, the more he frowns upon any kind of structural coherence the more acclaim he receives. This takes a great amount of trust, coming from someone who will purposely play all kinds of mind games that take the form of artful, digital concepts of misdirection.
It's unlikely that I will ever listen to Garden Of Delete again. Most of the sounds are annoying to my ears, and the feelings of anxiety the songs produce aren't particularly enjoyable. Nevertheless, Daniel Lopatin's newest Oneohtrix Point Never album is one of the more unique, powerful recordings to come out this year. It's uncomfortable but distinctly compelling.
Oneohtrix Point Never — Garden of Delete (Warp)In the build-up to Garden of Delete’s release, Daniel Lopatin, the man who is Oneohtrix Point Never, peppered the internet with a bizarre, deconstructed narrative, via Youtube videos, fake interviews and blog posts, about his encounter with a pubescent alien named Ezra, the kind of macguffin one has come to expect from pop’s most prominent advocate-cum-distorter. In interviews, he has stated that he wanted the album to be built around scraps taken from the stadium-filling pop of the likes of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, but when they wouldn’t play ball, he burrowed deep into his own mind to come up with his own approximation of the sound, which, of course, would probably send most fans of traditional pop running for the hills. This has long been Lopatin’s modus operandi, right from the days when his reimagination of Chris de Burgh’s saccharine arse gravy captured the mind of many a late-night Youtube hopper and paved the wave for the style known as “vaporwave” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) that hones in on the cultural ephemera of the last 30 years and tries to make something modern-sounding out whatever comes out of the sonic detritus.