ISSUE 35 FALL/WINTER 2019/20 OUT NOW         ISSUE 35 FALL/WINTER 2019/20 OUT NOW    

Oneohtrix Point Never

Words by
Federico Sargentone

Oneohtrix Point Never is the moniker of composer and producer Daniel Lopatin (American, b. 1982). He recently released the album Age Of on Warp Records, and his concertscape MYRIAD, a theatrical installation oriented around behaviorally choreographed set pieces and lighting, is touring worldwide.

In Oneohtrix Point Never’s music, baroque digital harpsichords, low-pitched vocals reminiscent of fictional pop anthems and pixelated synth leads converge to create an ideal soundtrack for the information era. Informed by the concepts of infinite scroll and Internet addiction, Age Of is Daniel Lopatin’s ninth studio album released as Oneohtrix Point Never. “As someone who was addicted to the Internet, I tried to depict my addiction, and other behavioral things I was grappling with through the way I put music together”—tells Lopatin, and in fact the feeling of wandering through a continuous feed of images, words and references it’s somehow evident when listening to the record. The appropriation and combination of stylistic canons from diverse music genres guide the tracklist to unexpected latitudes: the sexy, guitar-fuelled riff of The Station (originally written for Usher), the utopian grandiosity of the heartbreaking hymn Toys 2, and the orchestrated chants in Same (featuring vocals by New York-based artist and composer ANOHNI) contribute to challenging fixed listening habits.
It’s a dense, arcane album; a space for glacial drones, lonely hearts and condensed drum kits; a script for the inner chaos, an imaginary soundscape to the emotional apocalypse of the real life. Sound objects delve deep into obscurity and resurface in ephemeral moments of purity. The cover is graced by a painting by American artist Jim Shaw depicting the act of worship of three Caucasian, bourgeoise housewives towards the vestiges of a 2012 Macbook Pro.

As one of the most critically-acclaimed projects signed as Oneohtrix Point Never, Age Of disrupts pop, accessible music while also indulging in it—an operation facilitated by the group of collaborators that Lopatin has gathered to contribute: James Blake, who co-produced and mixed the album; ANOHNI, whose vocals appear on several tracks; and Kelsey Lu, who played keyboards. Lopatin’s ability to move across musical and cultural arenas reflects his intuition of a music that defies the hierarchy of high and low, mainstream and niche. From scoring Safdie brothers’ film Good Time, which won the Soundtrack Award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, to collaborating with artist Jon Rafman on several video works, and performing the epic concertscape MYRIAD worldwide, Lopatin’s talent in transcending categorization emerges as an attitude. “Collapsing all sorts of boundaries is pretty overt in my music, but its not something I need to practice or think about. It’s just something I always believed was true about myself.”—Lopatin says. “If you love music you don’t really experience things categorically. You just love it. I can’t imagine making music any other way.”

Image courtesy of the artist and WARP, London.

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