R Plus Seven is Daniel Lopatin’s fourth full-length release under the Oneohtrix Point Never moniker, and his first for the pioneering Warp Records. It’s a perfect home for him. There are few artists currently working whose output has been as restlessly forward thinking: even as it is also heavily referential and thoroughly postmodern. Pulling off that balance has been Oneohtrix Point Never’s greatest trick: to make music that is at once overtly conceptual and yet thoroughly listenable.
Slowly but surely over the course of the last 5 years, Lopatin has increasingly moved away from his roots in ambience and noise. Whereas 2011’s Replica was an unsettling collage of vocal fragments, fractured loops and hazy half-memories, R Plus Seven finds Lopatin working primarily with ‘generic’ synth-sounds and presets. From the canned pipe-organ that opens the record, to the ready-made strings and choirs, arpeggiators and e-pianos that feature throughout, somehow Lopatin is able to carve out something strange and exquisite. As if to say, these distinctions we like to make between generic and authentic, prefab and original, banal and transcendent are less clear cut than we often imagine. There is real beauty even in the apparently mundane, just as the unique and soulful quickly resolves itself into monotonous convention. Even Mozart used presets, after all. It’s just that he called his an orchestra.
Originally posted at PBS106.7fm