ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER - AGAIN

ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER - AGAIN

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Released: 29/09/23

As only one cut from Oneohtrix’s much-anticipated new album has been made available thus far it’s, er, a little tricky to give a fair assessment of the whole LP – but given that this track, the record’s closer, entitled ‘A Barely Lit Path’, is 6’15”-long and one of the most accomplished creations that Oneohtrix, AKA Daniel Lopatin, has ever conceived of – both technically and compositionally – we can comfortably surmise that Again will, as the kids say, SLAAAP MAAAAATE

The Massachusetts-born artist has, in recent years, leaned hard into vapour wave and what can be best described as avant-baroque electro-pop, hints of which could be heard on 2015’s Garden of Delete, with tracks such as ‘Sticky Drama’, before becoming a full-blown concern with Age of (2018), and Again’s predecessor, Magic Oneohtrix Point Never (2020) – with, it’s fair to say, varying degrees of success. To me, at least, it seemed as though Lopatin had become too much concerned with overarching conceptual narrative, to the detriment of the form – resulting in music that was intellectually thought-provoking, in its ontological preoccupation with, for example, speculative futurity, but not particularly interesting. If A Barely Lit Path’ is anything to go by, then, Again is a bravura return to the experimental ambient, glitch-noise, and intoxicating mod-synth workouts to be found variously on the brilliant Replica (2011) and R Plus Seven (2013), but, crucially, also sounds like a giant leap forward – for who else, as on ‘A Barely Lit Path’, would think to slowly transmute a stunning, organically rendered symphonic string refrain (with echoes of Zadok the Priest, no less) into its entropic digital doppelgänger, before completing the dialectic by synthesising the two into an ecstatic arpeggiated club banger? Extraordinary.