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Oneohtrix Point Never: Replica 

B

Oneohtrix Point Never

Album: Replica
Label: Software

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In addition to his more dance-floor-ready work as half of Ford & Lopatin, Daniel Lopatin also makes ambient music that could score a thousand gonzo Ambien-dreams as Oneohtrix Point Never. It’s difficult music to describe, but it’s decidedly easy to digest—especially when compared to OPN’s earlier experiments in arpeggiated drone, which recall Tangerine Dream and label-mate Emeralds. Where 2010’s Returnal opened with a scene of bedlam worthy of Kevin Drumm’s Sheer Hellish Miasma, Replica begins gingerly, setting the mood with some alien-yet-inviting, Boards Of Canada-sounding tones. Unlike the similarly iterative The Field, OPN builds its beats here not from drums, but internally, from the looping, juddering collision of samples. These rhythms intersect with planes of sound—spectral piano, Juno-60 synthesizer, a man intoning the word “up”—to generate new oblique angles, all without any one element undergoing transformation.

Replica’s sounds were culled from a DVD compilation of ’80s commercials, but the record doesn’t feel of a piece with the current musical crop of nostalgia-aids. Instead, its great strength and most beguiling feature is its ability to sand spiky textures down into soothing ones, and to transform the anodyne into the anxiety-inducing, simply through repetition.