A new full-length album from Oneohtrix Point Never, a project that Daniel Lopatin seems to be taking ever deeper into the world of digital hyper-reality. Garden Of Delete is festooned with painfully bright synth sounds and bitcrushed samples, creating a vivid and disorientating sound-universe. On Warp Records.
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Welcome to Daniel Lopatin’s garden. To your left, you will see discarded cigarettes, and to your right, audio detritus. If you would be so kind as to look up, you’ll find some selfies that Mr. Lopatin wanted to put into a press release. Warp were not game. This garden is actually a digital garden, the Recycle Bin that resides on OPN’s laptop, into which pours various ridiculous snatches of broken audio and ideas for zany novellas and comic strips. God only knows what is actually in Lopatin’s recycle bin, this being the soundtrack to your imagination trying to get there.
Just to be sure that you know, this is VERY glitchy. While R Plus Seven confines the skittery bits to little pockets amidst the beauty, this is an outpouring of sliced and disintegrated sound. The result is super intense, with some more extended pockets of restraint when a breather is needed. Robin always said how this pic of Squarepusher looks like Daniel Lopatin, and now it turns out that their sounds are beginning to blur as well as their likeness. The refreshing new-age synth swells that graced the last one are still here, but as with the majority of the album, you only see little snippets of it, see the end of ‘SDFK’.
You’ll ogle at his sound design majesty, though - that mangled pop section of ‘ECCOJAMC1’, not to mention the thuddering power drill of ‘Mutant Standard’ that gives way to a cloudy synth aroma via someone chatting shit about this not being their house, eventually diving into a technicolour wall of synth chords & fast arps. Mutant indeed. I mean, some of the sounds are deliberately crap, like a rubbish stock MIDI keyboard or guitar, but weaved in and out of with delicious synth layers and stuttery sequences. It’s almost like they’re used as a sort of playful contrast, which he can get away with on an album as jumpy as this.
Even with all the greatest sounds in the world at your fingertips, you might not make a very emotive album. Obviously this is not the case here, I’m just saying. You get little minisongs like ‘Animals’ where a guitar and a square wave pluck an OPN lullaby while morphed vocals like bats sing words that only bats would understand. ‘Ezra’ is just beautiful. ‘ECCOJAMC1’ has it’s own metal section, that’s rousing as hell considering what comes before. Is that Children of Bodom? Oh and this is all before you get to the crazy/hilarious emotional outpour that is the 80s power ballad guitar solo on ‘Lift’. Those last few tracks, minus said solo, are the closest to R Plus Seven that you’re gonna get, nice stereo melodic arp samples at a chill pace.
I was initially unsure, but now am sure. This is great, exquisitely crafted electronic sound, and forms a nice link to the OPN of old while throwing sensibility to the crocs and melting it into hot, sentient alloy. Future music.
10/10 Alexander Jones 5th April 2016A friend recommended Oneohtrix Point Never to me, so I bought Garden of Delete and, to be honest, it's possibly the best music recommendation I've ever been given. It certainly isn't an album that you'll love instantly, but some of the best records are growers. Oneohtrix has a real knack to holding intrigue in his music, whether it's terrifying or soothing you. the opening track, just 30 seconds or so long, sounds like the distorted grunts of a child-animal-monster hybrid, and the stop-start synth of track two, Ezra, will make you think your speakers are in the middle of breaking. Sticky Drama is where the LP really bursts into life, the heavily glitched-out rhythms and computer noises are startling, even for what you might call "IDM", and the distorted auto-tuned vocals really bring an element of insanity to the mix. The synths are so deep and fuzzy I'm surprised OPN's equipment didn't set on fire during recording. Among all this, however, there's almost a pop music backing to it, the whole thing sounds like a computer hacker has remixed a pop song to the point of no recognition. Like someone set fire to a Taylor Swift waxwork and then asked viewers to say who they think it is. Mutant Standard keeps up the eerie abandoned-house-in-the-forrest feeling, there's a four minute build, then something is birthed that sounds like a classic trance melody, if it were made by a group of goths. There's even a bit of a beat going on. I can't say there's a weak track on GoD, and as the record goes on it gets almost beautiful. The track, Lift, features samples of 80s prog-rock riffs, which OPN has somehow managed to fit in with his strange keyboard melodies into something truly sublime. Closer track, No Good, follows a melancholy electric piano of sorts, followed by some more auto-tuned vocals, much tamer vocals this time, and subtly erupts with a huge synth progression that puts the track up there with the best album closers there is. The whole thing really is a journey from start to finish, and I'm now working my way backwards through OPN's discography. Fuck knows how he does it, but he does it.
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