Oneohtrix Point Never - Commissions I
- Mark Keane
- 23 April 2014
Dreamy, intoxicating and cleansing compilation of electronic experimentalism
Daniel Lopatin, under his Oneohtrix Point Never guise, has long since wandered off into the conceptual, compositional undergrowth where you are fêted almost no matter what you do because, hey, you’re pushing sonic boundaries, ‘challenging’ listeners, tearing up old musical motifs and forging new and unique paths through sonic vanguardism, like a midi-Magellan circumnavigating the highbrow seas of contemporary music quackery with only the ghostly apparition of Karlheinz Stockhausen as your guide. How it works is this: you make make some niche-y compositions, The Wire magazine approves, and before you know it you’re on the outer-limits festival gravy train, playing cities like Graz and Tromsø, and then you’re collaborating on the soundtrack of a video installation with Isaac Julien in MOMA, while planning a live tour of caves.
My apologies. Being snide about this cosseted bubble of experimentalism doesn’t change the fact that some pretty remarkable music survives beyond the highfalutin pretext. This Record Store Day EP will please anyone familiar with OPN’s last full-length effort, 2013’s R Plus Seven – a digital mindmelt filled with odd sounds, samples, layers, gauzy white noise, broken chunks of MIDI preset audio, all of it dreamy, intoxicating and cleansing – like how it must feel to get a Casio keyboard enema. On Commissions I, Lopatin finds a home for three tracks that he worked on for various nixer projects, and each displays his singular sonic vision. ‘Music For Steamed Rocks’ is a beatific reinterpretation of Witold Lutoslawski, with sweeping synth swashes and ethereal vocals. ‘Meet Your Creator’ was originally done for a Saatchi & Saatchi show and is a more pulsating, arpeggio-ed number, and a throwback to OPN’s Rifts era. ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ is a dislocating and portentous reimagining of the 1930s romantic ballad. It’s art, it’s collage, it’s retro-futurist music for replicants and it sounds very nice.