Release Date: Sep 30, 2013
Record label: Warp
In his portrayal of Georges Schwizgebel, Der Bund arts and culture journalist Thomas Allenbach describes what he loves most about the Swiss animator’s work: “Each image transforms into another, a still image becomes a moving one, which effortlessly surmounts temporal and spatial limits. ” It’s almost certainly a cop-out, discussing a separate piece of art through the lens of some analysis by-proxy, but it feels essential in the case of R Plus Seven. Not only does the album’s cover art feature an enhanced screen-grab from one of Schwizgebel’s productions, but the music hinges on disconnected adaptations, on re-imagined scenarios, where description and critique are borrowed to expose some mosaic euphoria.
Oneohtrix Point NeverR Plus Seven[Warp; 2013]By David Wolfson; November 18, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGFor Daniel Lopatin, the process of making music has never been one solely of creation, but also recontextualization. His debut release as Oneohtrix Point Never, 2007’s Betrayed In The Octagon, was composed entirely on the Roland Juno-60 synthesizer; a device that was invented in 1982, brought into the mainstream consciousness by synth-pop groups such as Eurythmics and Duran Duran, and subsequently treated as a relic of a cheesy, bygone era before being repopularized in the mid-2000’s by indie-electronic artists like Phoenix, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Junior Boys. In the midst of this revival, which saw the Juno-60 being used with similar intentions to those it was popularized under, Lopatin arrived with a series of releases (later collected in the Rifts compilation) that recontextualized the instrument by using it to craft spacey, sci-fi indebted analog textures.
After a run of three albums in three years, Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never went on something of a hiatus: he waited all of two years to release his fourth studio album - and label debut on Warp Records - R Plus Seven. Lopatin is one of the few artists of the short-lived (mainly) Brooklyn lo-fi explosion to have survived in the public consciousness, thanks mainly to his ability to evolve beyond sounding like just another indie kid in a loft in Bushwick with a retro synth. R Plus Seven sees Lopatin continue along the same experimental path trodden by his previous three releases, but it is somehow lighter and more accessible whilst remaining almost impossible to grasp.
If you’re reading this, the easiest way for you to tell the most important person in your life that you love them is probably to use a network operated and surveilled by people in control of more money than you can imagine. You can send photos, sound, video, and text to this person almost instantly. It will probably make them smile. The swarm of metadata that surrounds your actions is stored somewhere on a server that you will never see.
For his next trick, New York–based sound collagist Daniel Lopatin has pitch-shifted his way up to Warp and, along with the expansion of his cultural cachet, his claustrophobic terrariums have grown into full-fledged environments. 2011’s Replica was woven from finely-sliced snippets of TV ads that coiled into one another, the infinitesimal gaps between the samples forming their own secondary soundscape. For its part, R Plus Seven opens with no less orthodox a sound than booming church organ, which stands in defiance as Lopatin flings beads of rhythm in its face in opener “Boring Angel,” and caps it in the heartbreaking closer “Chrome County.
There’s a continual tension in experimental electronic music between developing and owning a particular sound and exploring new ones. Creating a unique identity is difficult, and sometimes breaking out of it once it's been established is even harder. Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never is an artist working at one end of this spectrum. He’s restless, searching for new terrain, and his more recent full-lengths have found him reinventing himself with each new record.
For over 5 years now, Daniel Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never, has time and again successfully endeavored into the great digital void and brought forth some of the most bizarre sounds that have ever been stuck together in a coherent sequence. However, with his fourth release R Plus Seven, Lopatin has finally emerged with an album so monumentally eccentric that, on first listen, pretty much had me stumped. I’m serious, how do you describe a record that’s more or less a constantly fluctuating soundscape without compromising its inherent ambiguity? Honestly, I really don’t know where to start with this one, guys.
Here’s a confession. Barely a minute into my first listen of R Plus Seven, I was struck by the bracing futility of reviewing it. Not because it isn’t excellent—it is—but how do you describe this stuff? Throw the word “glitchy” around and hope the aural indicators get through? Namedrop a pretty handful of drugs you imagine Daniel Lopatin may have used during its recording, none of which you’ve actually sampled? Front as if you have a genuine sense of precisely how Lopatin constructed this particular batch of dizzyingly intricate sonic puzzles? That I won’t do.
Over the course of Oneohtrix Point Never's discography, Daniel Lopatin managed to sound markedly different from album to album while keeping an overarching aesthetic. His Warp debut, R Plus Seven, often feels like a microcosm of that approach; these shape-shifting songs hold together more because of Lopatin's bold sonic palette than any unifying concept. Aside from the opening track, "Boring Angel," he downplays the drones that made up the heart of his earlier work (and Replica, to a lesser extent) in favor of bright, briskly applied tones that, on the surface, seem like the opposite of his usual modus operandi.
A minute-and-a-half into "Boring Angel," Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never) suddenly introduces arpeggiating synths, micro-sampled voices and rapid-fire cymbal shots into the long, deep organ drone that announces the beginning of his latest album, R Plus Seven. It's an intentionally jarring moment, one that sets the tone for Lopatin's follow-up to Replica. Where that album found him recontextualizing found sounds, R Plus Seven is built from his musical compositions, resulting in a slightly more melodic and far more dynamic full-length.
As electronic music has become ever more fractured throughout the last decade, Brooklyn based musician Daniel Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never, has emerged at the forefront of a vanguard of experimental electronic alchemists. The OPN formula has been honed over five years of sonic manipulation that mines both themes and feelings of nostalgia with a slightly warped sense of futurism. It makes for an oblique but often affecting combination of styles and sound.
Across a run of CD-Rs, cassettes and albums on Editions Mego and his own label, Software, Oneohtrix Point Never spent the last six years or so establishing himself as one of the more compelling voices in electronic ambiance. But it was with his 2010 breakthrough Returnal that Daniel Lopatin really took center stage. Melding drones with refashioned new age tropes and urban kosmische, the album showed Oneohtrix Point Never shaping his own melodic zone-out spaces within the burgeoning noise/drone scene.But 2011's Replica marked a noted change in Lopatin's approach.
On the rise from an experimental underground that prizes esoteric computer sounds and spaced-out vintage synths, Oneohtrix Point Never sounds like an electronic-music time traveler. His first LP for the modish label Warp elicits deep emotion from atmospheric riffs and samples of voices reduced to hiccups and sighs, with dollops of wholesome beauty. Warm organ sounds in "Boring Angel" suggest a futuristic church service, while sophisticated incursions of rhythm and repetition invoke avant-classical composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
If you were looking around for 2013’s Aphex Twin, the electronica guru working closest to the zeitgeist, you need look no further than Daniel Lopatin. Brooklynite, owner of Software Records, soundtracker of Sofia Coppola’s recent hit movie The Bling Ring, and theoretician of some standing, Lopatin’s washy synthesizer drifts have an uncanny way of sounding both retro-nostalgic and very much in touch with the modern condition. But whereas his early kosmische-styled material had a strong emotional undertow, his debut for Warp feels a little more arch.
opinion byDREW MALMUTH Synthesizers are now at the core of mainstream pop music but they were originally designed not for mass media but out of an interest in academia and technological advancement. FM synthesis was developed as a technique for transmitting radio before John Chowning, an academic at Stanford, discovered that by changing the frequency of a waveform in relation to its amplitude musical sounds could be generated. His 1973 paper eventually led to the mass production of digital FM synthesizers; one of the most popular, the Yamaha DX-7, is heard in almost every pop music track made in the latter part of the 80s.
Oneohtrix Point Never R Plus Seven (Warp) In his halcyon days, Brooklyn's Daniel Lopatin made desecrated incantations inspired by soundtracks to the cheesiest sci-fi films of 1979. He's nostalgia's bitter end, the harbinger of false memories, and now, a world-renowned musician. Check his score for The Bling Ring. He's certainly the only modern experimentalist being interviewed by ESPN.
Composer (and Sudbury native) Daniel Lopatin’s fifth album — not including his scoring work for “The Bling Ring” — is a spiritual affair. Whether through the gleaming church organ presets that open and close the album, or the choruses of faux castrati that brighten “Still Life” and “Chrome Country,”“R Plus Seven” draws energy from its sustained pull between the sublime and the plastic. Where 2011’s “Replica” felt like an active excavation of our commercially mortared memories, “R Plus Seven” feels more like a display case of the polished specimens.
Daniel Lopatin mainly plies his trade under the name Oneohtrix Point Never, Ford and Lopatin collaborations with Joel Ford aside. R Plus Seven is his first release since signing to Warp, and his fifth Oneohtrix… album in total. That Lopatin has also turned his hand to a number of scores and soundtracks (most notably for this year’s The Bling Ring) comes as no surprise.
Media are containers for other media. And in the 21st century, cultural productions of all stripes have themselves started acting more like media in this way: they have become containers for precedent cultural artefacts. Daniel Lopatin's work as Oneohtrix Point Never is a shining example of this phenomenon. His albums are time capsules of the hyper-immediate present, albeit ones predominantly stocked with a carefully curated past – until now.
Since the 2009 release of the Rifts compilation, Oneohtrix Point Never has occupied a unique niche in the electronic underground. Though you could loosely bundle him in with acts like Emeralds and M. Geddes Gengras, his emotionally affecting hybrids of drone, kosmische and New Age tropes have always been quite singular. Returnal lashed together sweeping synths and thick lattices of noise for a sound that was both epic in scale and intimate, and Replica’s poignant melodic loops and samples from old adverts stirred something even more vital while serving as orienting markers in a whirl of distortion and clatter.
Daniel Lopatin’s work as Oneohtrix Point Never initially made waves for its unabashed embrace of the softer sounds of new age and what was formerly considered cheesy synth schmaltz. Whether it was a musician staying true to the unhip sounds that inspired him, or an astute move made a few steps ahead of the inevitable wave of stylistic resurgence, Lopatin was onto something. Time passes, though, and his little corner of the musical universe has enough company these days that much of the material on the 2009 retrospective Rifts sounds pretty ordinary in 2013.