Oneohtrix Point Never: R Plus Seven (Warp, 2013)

September 25, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Oneohtrix Point Never: R Plus Seven

Oneohtrix Point Never: R Plus Seven

Stepping up to the big leagues, R Plus Seven is Daniel Lopatin’s Warp debut. Instead of being the logical sequel to 2011’s instant classic Replica, this is a little closer to OPN’s split LP with Rene Hell from last year, using abrasive stuttering and glitch sounds, but also using plenty of preset, plastic MIDI sounds. James Ferraro has explored those sounds at length on his Far Side Virtual album, and while I thought that album was highly overrated and gimmicky, I think Lopatin truly does some creative, unpredictable things here. Even more so than other OPN works, this album is clearly meant to be digested as a whole work (not to mention on a good soundsystem, there’s lots of bass here). Both halves of the album seem like stand-alone pieces themselves, especially given how there’s a gap of silence between the two. There’s plenty of interstitial moments that seem to cut out and instantly shift to another landscape entirely, and plenty of mutated voices (there’s a lyric sheet in the liner notes, but good luck connecting those to the actual songs). The first and last tracks end with dramatic, grandiose church organs, “Americans” cuts into gamelan-like drum passages towards the beginning and end, and “He She” is a short piece with a koto loop and simultaneous slow and fast cut-up voices (the faster ones sounding like some sort of religious chanting). These types of voices and edits continue throughout the album, with “Zebra” starting out like Fennesz’s “Before I Leave”, building with choir voices and shredded sounds, adding garage-house synth-bass and MIDI sax, pausing for a long ambient stretch, and ending up with something similar to Oval’s “Dowhile” rattling around for the last 2 minutes. “Problem Areas” is maybe the most accessible, structured track, and while I thought it just sounded like a Far Side Virtual clone, it sounds better in context and sequence of the album. “Cryo” is a slow, unassuming, bassy intro, and then we get to the epic “Still Life”, which I think would fit in anywhere on FSOL’s double-CD opus Lifeforms (which I’ve compared OPN’s collection Rifts to in the past). Seriously, just listen to the last 2 minutes. There’s the “Cascade” high whistle-like synth, and some Jean-Michel Jarre type stuff going on. It’s great. “Chrome Country” ends the album with synthetic children’s choirs and pianos, plus more digital shredding and bass tones. I’d still say Replica is OPN’s best and most accessible album so far, and I feel like this one might confuse people a little bit and potentially divide his audience, but it’s still a fantastic album, and continues Daniel Lopatin’s status as one of the most important musicians on the planet right now.

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