Words About Music
Oneohtrix Point Never “R Plus Seven”
What Daniel Lopatin creates is electronic music only because it is created electronically. He usually does not create music you’ll want to dance to. His songs are usually in a style that mirror ambient, drone, avant-garde, and usually sample-based genres. He’s even credited with founding the difficult-to-define vaporwave genre. Over the past few years he’s released some absolutely amazing albums, like 2010’s “Returnal” and 2011’s “Replica,” both of which saw Lopatin creating some brilliant sounds. He continues that trend with his fourth album under the Oneohtrix Point Never alias “R Plus Seven,” which is quite different from his other work in some clearly noticeable ways.
On “R Plus Seven,” Oneohtrix takes a lot of influence from new age of all places. Some of these songs sound like they belong on soundtracks to those Planet Earth documentaries. At least until they evolve into computer glitch breakdowns that will make you feel like you’re on some sort of drug. He follows peaceful sounding music with twisted buildups and breakdowns. He remains incredibly unpredictable. Each song could contain up to three or four different “movements” which would suggest that this album could be 20 short tracks a la “Donuts” instead of 10 regular sized tracks. That’s only a part of what makes “R Plus Seven” such a compelling yet incredibly strange listen.
Oneohtrix Point Never loves transporting us to different lands with each new sound he tries on “R Plus Seven.” Sometimes it sounds like we’re in an African jungle, sometimes Niagara Falls, and sometimes I could swear we’re in some futuristic Japanese dystopia. Every now and then I am able to catch glimpses of samples, but mostly Oneohtrix Point Never keeps his vocal samples unrecognizable and indecipherable. It almost feels like he has taken on this vaporwave image and thrown in a little Clams Casino type cloud rap—minus percussion for the most part—to create a group of ambient soundscapes fit for a rapper like Yung Lean or Lil B.
It is also worth nothing that this is his first album with the highly influential label Warp Records, which has been home to artists such as Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada as well as Grizzly Bear and TNGHT.
I’m not sure what Oneohtrix Point Never’s goal was with this album, if he even had one. Maybe he wanted to take his ambient sound and explore it further by adding tons of textures and settings. If that’s what he was looking to do then he succeeded. “R Plus Seven” might not go down in history like “Endtroducing” or “Since I Left You,” although that remains to be seen, but I can definitely see Oneohtrix Point Never going down as one of the most important experimenters in the modern age of electronic music.
SCORE – 9.3
FAVORITE TRACKS – Boring Angel, Americans, Inside World, Zebra, Along, Problem Areas, Cryo, Still Life, Chrome Country