The new Vangelis gets round to his eighth studio LP, to be released by Warp. Born in part from his MYRIAD project for the Red Bull Music Academy, this latest album sees Oneohtrix Point Never screwballing some new styles into his Blade Runner-goes-electroacoustic ouevre. This means computer music colliding with harpsichords as well as old folk sounds in a typically neurotic manner.
Staff note from Benn:
Such an experimental record. Is there some auto-tune? Yes. Does it bother me? No. Great record!
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Harpsichord! Daniel Lopatin has used a harpsichord, and it’s all over the opening, title track of this latest Oneohtrix Point Never opus which he has somewhat open-endedly named ‘Age Of’. Scarlatti has been summoned from the grave to party with Vangelis. This is OPN however, and Lopatin has used all manner of instruments in order to add that little extra touch of the Baroque, to that most baroque among electronic producers. Whatever Lopatin does though, he has always been able to reach out from within the notes, digits and grooves of his work and grasp you by the lapels to shake you out of your torpor; even if that sometimes wasn’t strictly necessary.
There are voices on this record. There are human voices, I mean (albeit by turns skewed, skewered and screwed) -- Prurient pops up three times(!), notably on track two, ‘Babylon’; adding (an alien) warmth to a body of work that can, I think, sound a touch mystifying. There’s Anohni also, on four tracks: the creeping ‘Black Snow’ (lyrically inspired, apparently by the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit: isn’t that so Oneohtrix? Such japes!) Garden of Delete sometimes seems such a long way behind us, out of sight of the rear view mirror even… Perhaps it’s due in no small part to the input of James Blake; his additional production and mixing desk duties have imbued a smooth soul sheen to certain passages: the space-ballad 'Toys 2’ slinks with a suave grace. There’s a low-key lurk always there however, hovering, frolicking; purposefully, out of hibernation.
Side 2 of the record opens with a page very closely relating to ‘Garden…’ : ‘Myriad.industries’ is peppered with shimmering, partially-glitched keys, bleepy harshness rising from the grooves once more with ghostly horror voices bursting forth, not totally unexpectedly. The trademark multi-mini-melodies are present. Welcome back, Daniel. I’ve only just realised how much I missed you; can I give you a hug? We all need one or two of those every day, don’t we? So the scattered beats, odd ambience, off-centre samples and disturbing voices are back, they’re all over this record and I bloody love them. Anohni is back and she sounds siren-like amid the gothic synth stabs and spectral noise Lopatin makes, every but like the celebrated genius he truly is.
However, I think there’s probably too much wondrous genius within these particular grooves to properly absorb in one (lonesome-reviewer) sitting. Possibly best to listen to solo; or alternatively, on second thought, in the company of a loved one from within the comforting folds of a nice soft blankie / crisp, freshly laundered linen bedsheet. So, to recap then: an album to treasure, along with all his previous stuff: nice one, Lopatin. Also, there are some additional James Blake-y moments near the end. Nice.
P.S. Oh my stars, wouldn’t Laurie also have loved this? But where is he? He’s here, of course! Want a Vinyl cleaning cloth?
(This album already comes with a polythene sleeve, and it’s been lovingly engraved and stencilled.) Thank you for listening.
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- Age Of by Oneohtrix Point Never
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