Daniel Lopatin's Oneohtrix Point Never scales high heights (4 stars)

Daniel Lopatin's Oneohtrix Point Never scales high heights

The new record titled Age Of features a number of special guests such as James Blake and Anohni

With his eighth album as Oneohtrix Point Never, American producer Daniel Lopatin is seeking to define the Age Of … well, what exactly? Hearing the title track's opening harpsichord notes, he may be trying to give birth to a 21st century renaissance, an evolution in electronic production which fuses chilly synthesised sonic experiments with the warmth of human voices to create a kind of trans-human hymnal.

That harpsichord pops up amid the bubbling, bleeding interlude of 'myriad.industries' and echoes the minimalist, analogue emotional current of the piano line on 'Manifold'. The player of the latter, Kelsey Lu, also returns on the closing 'Last Known Image of a Song.' It's a welcome upbeat finale to a record which raises the bar for contemporary electronic music.

In the interim, many heights are scaled, from the gorgeous and stripped-back future hip-hop production on 'Babylon' to tracks 'Warning' and 'Same', all of which use Prurient's voice almost as an instrument in itself, to more apocalyptic, industrial effect. There are a number of guests on the album, including Anohni, apparently repaying the favour after Lopatin worked on her 2016 record Hopelessness. She appears on four tracks, often in a non-lyrical form, for example as a looping, extra-human backing holler over Shaun Trujillo's voice on 'Black Snow', and a disembodied yelp amid the fearsome, urgent 'We'll Take It'.

Both this latter track and 'Still Stuff that Doesn't Happen' form their own unlikely supergroup, with Lopatin's production and Anohni's spectral voice accompanied by the keyboard-playing of James Blake (who is also the album's co-producer). That such talents should congregate around this record is unsurprising because amid its sonic ambiguity, big emotions unfold, and Lopatin's muse appears to once more create a new vision of the future.

Out now on Warp

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