Oneohtrix Point Never: Replica (Software)
Daniel Lopatin returns as Oneohtrix with another compelling series of unusual electronic pieces. It’s quite a different beast from his last full-length, Returnal, which was considerably hazier and downright noisy at times. His explorations into piano music with Antony on the 7" of that album’s title track that followed seem to have informed at least parts if not most of Replica, lending it greater accessibility without compromising his uniqueness as an artist. If anything, the broader scope of sound makes Replica more interesting start to finish, covering a much broader amount of musical turf. Instead of the more abrasive slab that comprised much of Returnal, Replica sounds more cosmic and odd, with a refreshing range of dynamics and styles. Some of the goofier territory Lopatin’s explored as one half of Lopatin & Ford (previously known as Games) seems to have filtered through toward the end of the album, namely “Up” and “Child Soldier,” perhaps my two least favorite tracks. But there are plenty of healthy complements to those more intrusive moments, like the sublime Tim Hecker-meets-Coil reverberated piano sound of “Power of Persuasion” or the cut-ups of “Nassau.” Like so much leftfield music, it’s difficult to describe in words, but that’s part of what makes it exciting. Even when Lopatin strikes a nerve that I’m not keen on, he’s doing so in bold and interesting ways.