Oneohtrix Point Never has returned with a massive new album you can call G.O.D. It peels up the corner tiles of a thousand realities over 45 minutes, blooming micro-worlds of sound and immediately dissolving in head-on collisions.
For the first time in years, OPN – real name Daniel Lopatin – hasn’t completely restructured his sound, yet I’m feeling the same sense of dizzying vertigo that he’s made a career out of conjuring. In a real sense, the strongest component of his appeal has always been that daring sense of surprise, the act of an artist venturing over the edge of the known music world and bringing back sounds that I’ve never even anticipated, much less heard. More than a style, it’s an idea, a philosophy. In the wrong hands, it can become a cheap trick. This is something far more substantial.
While writing about the incredible new Beach House album, Depression Cherry, I promised to share my favorite track. Now that the album is out, it’s right here streaming for your pleasure.
Space Song is the moment when the band cements its own sound, defining the new album and taking their art to a new level. If the first track kicks off like Cocteau Twins and the second drifts with My Bloody Valentine, this is where they come fully into their own sound world.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the song is without dramatic influences. This is the point that Depression Cherry starts showing its swooning, eerily classical side. This is what deeply reminds me of the music in David Lynch films, with singer Victoria Legrand’s voice rising to a new level of weightlessness that conjures the ethereal likes of Julee Cruise and Dead Can Dance. The galloping rhythm harkens back to much earlier pop, in a way that the best Spiritualized songs recombine the same five or six Elvis-era melodies in giddily unexpected ways. The best part is that Beach House have managed to pack this inspiration into a puzzle that’s unmistakably their own.
I wish that I could take a close enough picture to convey just how fuzzy and awesome the Depression Cherry vinyl sleeve is. The pictures online look like a flat, boring album cover, but holding it in my hands is a revelation. I have other albums with strange packaging, including hairy CDs from both Black Moth Super Rainbow and The Flaming Lips, but have never owned a vinyl in such a sleeve. I just had to share that because if you can, you should buy it. You’ll want to rub your face on it.
Dam-Funk has finally returned, and he’s taken funk right out of the atmosphere and into the deep reaches of space.
I can’t handle how consistently great the new triple-LP, 90 minute album is. Invite The Light is already one of my favorite pieces of music in years. I just keep repeating it, trying to grasp how it’s possible that one artist combined so many things I love about music into a singular sound. It’s overwhelming in the best way possible.
I want to write more about this once the album arrives next week, but I just had to shout my excitement right now, and hopefully tip some people off to the full album stream going on at NPR right now.
I’ve been really feeling Stereolab lately. Their incredibly unique mixture of old fashioned jazzy pop, electronics, and the motorik pulse of krautrock was the reason they were one of the first bands to ever be called post-rock.
If you’ve never heard them, you’re in for a real treat. This is the 18 minute epic centerpiece of their second album, 1993’s Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements.
It pays to heed recommendations. Today I clicked on an artist that my last.fm decided I should hear. Afrikan Sciences turned out to be a grand adventure, filling my Saturday afternoon with some kind of space-age techno funk. I fell in love.
I’ll get this out of the way: I love this album, Circuitous, already. It combines so many favorite elements in a fresh way: weird jazz, alien techno, Afrofuturism, synthesizers, sci-fi atmospherics, and a radical approach to percussion and rhythm. Most of all, I’m reminded of a purely instrumental cousin of visionary hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces, one of my favorite projects on earth – and creators of the best album of 2014.
The titular single is easily one of the most approachable tracks on the lengthy album, but perfectly showcases the quicksand-shifting drum sampling and humming analog synthesizer patches. It’s only a hint of how far deep the material goes. Try for yourself; click play below:
So, this is more of a news item than music that I’m sharing, but I’m too excited to keep it to myself.
Last October, Oneohtrix Point Never (aka Daniel Lopatin) recorded a brand new score for the astonishing 1995 anime film Magnetic Rose, premiering it live along with the film itself at a live event in the UK. I obviously and regrettably did not attend. However, good news is afoot!
Today Lopatin announced that he will be releasing a follow-up to last year’s Commissions I 12″ on Record Store Day, surprisingly titled Commissions II. The new release features selections of his suite inspired by the video game scores of Manabu Namiki, Bullet Hell Abstraction, on side one. The bigger news for this fan, however, is that side two includes music from his re-imagined soundtrack to Koji Morimoto’s aforementioned anime short, which was originally part of the Memories trilogy.
You might recognize Magnetic Rose as the film gracing this very blog’s headliner – that decaying future piano resides at the heart of the mind-bending film. I consider it a sort of psychedelic cousin to the original Alien.
The release is over 30 minutes long and boasts more minimalist cover art from Robert Beatty. Hopefully that blue X is another die-cut detail like part one had!
So, fellow Lopatin fans, keep an eye out on Record Store Day 2015, which hits Saturday, April 18.