TIP OF THE TONGUE 23 AUGUST 2009
Oneohtrix Point Never
Zones Without People
OUT OF STOCK!
Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never is one of the most fascinating artists to emerge from the whole new age synth/Hypnagogic pop nexus. He makes startlingly original synthesizer music that abandons ‘traditional’ avant garde textures, tones and formulas in favour of recuperating overlooked or critically condemned musical modes and projecting them into the future via a combination of visionary excess and a precise feel for the reciprocal relation and psychoactive potential of tones and rhythms in combination. Zones Without People is the second installment in what Lopatin has visioned as a trilogy (beginning with the last No Fun LP, Betrayed In The Octagon) that moves from automatic electronic codes through to rigorously arranged psych/pop miniatures, an arc that would track and balance the man/machine interface from one extreme to the other. Zones.. is the fulcrum of the set and so balances psych-pop constructs with machine noise, soundtrack sweeps with the sound of circuitry left to sing softly to itself. Parts of Zones.. touch on the mode of fellow thinkers like James Ferraro, with cinematic, expressive shorts that feel as if they were extrapolated to fit some phantom, never-made 1980s John Carpenter movie but Lopatin works in crystal clear fidelity, giving the album a lucid, transportive facility. Some of the rhythmic/melodic sequences are so perfectly worked over that they seem multi-dimensional, with certain luminous figures and repeat tones almost escaping from the speakers altogether. I’m reminded – in process, not in content – of Coil’s use of sidereal sound to expose the hidden physical attributes of certain vibrations and much of Zones... has that same uncanny appeal, a feeling of sound reified as tactile presence. It also does a great job of blurring and further confusing the demarcation lines between traditionally psychedelic or ritualistic modes – repeating tones, washes of deep drone – and ‘cheap’ junk chatter – video game effects, ginchy keyboard tones, primitive techno rhythms.
Zones Without People feels like a real breakthrough, a sublimely psychedelic album that relies on none of the traditional sleight-of-hand techniques in order to transport you to other zones of there. It’s a major record – managing to be both personal and warm while using ‘vacuous’ and austere musical codes – from a major new talent. Edition of 450 copies with artwork by Christelle Gualdi aka Stellar Om Source. Highly recommended.