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Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica CD (album) cover

REPLICA

Oneohtrix Point Never

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 5 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Daniel Lopatin has gone by many aliases (Chuck Person, Dania Shapes, Kaoss Edge, KGB Man) but is best known for his most famous alter ego ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER, which he adopted in the mid-2000s when he began releasing a series of synthesized- based experimental electronic recordings. While sporadically releasing albums under versions of the newly adopted moniker (Magic Oneohtrix Point Never, Total System Point Never, OPN), Lopatin settled into his best known artist name with the success of his 2009 compilation album "Rifts".

His fifth album REPLICA released in 2011 was a departure from his primarily synthesized creations prior. This release explored various different approaches including sample-based composition and MIDI production which some have called one of the nascent examples of vaporwave however this stylistic hodgepodge of sounds is mostly described as an ambient plunderphonics album that utilizes healthy doses of glitch, hypnogogic pop as well as classic 70s progressive electronic which makes this one of the more innovative electronic albums of the new millennium.

Like the vaporwave that followed, REPLICA was produced by a series of sampling effects in this case from various VHS compilations of television commercials from the 1980s and 90s. The timbres, tones and myriad sonic treasures were then teased out into a series of harmonic manipulations and forced to perform strange rhythmic gymnastics. The result was a completely new methodology for crafting electronic based music with emphasis on not only the ambient textures but the strange pauses and incidental sounds as well. So successful was this experiment in its obfuscation of original material that it would be practically impossible to discern that these sounds for the most part came from TV commercials of yore.

Despite the attempt to create electronic song cycles that delivered loops of sound that spiral around on a blank canvas, the album surprisingly has an overall accessible feel as the vignettes display ambient glides that form catchy melodic hooks while the chaotic swirls of sound rhythmically pulse, flutter around and repeat. The album was lauded by critics by taking the world of electronic psychedelia beyond the Boards of Canada stylistic approach and by creating a glitchy ambient art pop styled of music that has been called hypnogogic pop but due to the heavy sampling is also cited as a key player in the development of the sample heavy genre called vaporwave that really took off in the 2010s.

Electronic music is always the most difficult to convey through words in a review. It offers a purely subjective experience that will inevitably vary from one listener to the next and even offer completely different experiences for a single person depending on the mood and circumstances when listening. The album cover gives away the intent. The skull gazing back in the mirror reflects the impermanence of everything especially our own temporary lives on this planet in our current form. Likewise REPLICA is no one trick pony and takes several journeys into a variety of ambient based sounds. While certain tracks like the herky jerky "Sleep Dealer" excel in bombastic percussive bloops and bleeps and designed to be unnerving, much of the album a la "Remember" also delves into dreamy ambience that drifts aimlessly like a zephyr wind lulling and pacifying.

Far beyond the 80s pop revival of Ford & Lopatin, ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER took revolutionary steps on REPLICA that created tight loops out of samples sounds with the intent of creating textures free from the confines of linguistic reactions. Clever and against the grain, REPLICA was the innovative next frontier in electronic music that gave permission to dust off all those classic repositories of sound from the past and transmogrify them into something completely new. While plunderphonics in general was nothing new, the practice was more known for relishing in the avant-garde rather than craft easy to digest and emotionally fulfilling packets of sound that resulted in pointillistic melodies. This album works passively as a zone out album but also has a enough intricacy to engage the music nerd who relishes the subtle touches. Great album!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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