Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2011-11-07

Like Deison's excellent Night Sessions, also released this year, Pitchfork lover boy and electronic pioneer Daniel Lopatin's new album Replica makes for perfect small hours listening. To create this new collection of ambient soundscapes, Lopatin trawled through untold arcane TV shows and commercials to find the right source material for his patchwork of samples and synth-work. The resulting music recalls Brian Eno and David Byrne's landmark My Life in the Bush of Ghosts as well as other works of sampledelica genius such as KLF's Chill Out, Malcolm McClaren's Duck Rock and the oeuvre of Flying Lotus.

The music here is dream-like but never easy-going. The sounds echo and rebound on themselves in a hallucinatory way. Reverb and glitching is used to such an extent that it's frequently difficult to pinpoint exactly the nature of the sounds you're hearing - is that an orchestra or a child crying?; white noise or piano? There's also a studied lo-tech feel to tracks such as 'Sleep Dealer', a tune which builds a rhythm around alternating loops of a squeaking mechanism and some heavy breathing. It manages to sound simultaneously like some 60s sound experiment from a public information film and a slice of new age chill out - unique in other words, and strangely lovely.

Stand-out track 'Child Soldier' combines differing vocal samples (a children's choir; that old sample chestnut - the 'Hey!') and makes something startling and captivating out of them. 'Up', meanwhile, runs with a Bush of Ghosts style African drum pattern, building a maelstrom of competing sounds around it to create a work of fantastic intensity.

The way Lopatin uses his found sounds frequently puts one in mind of Boards of Canada, especially on opener 'Andro' with its glacially unfolding synth and burbling water effects. As interesting as much of the music on Replica is, a few more moments of uncomplicated beauty such as this and the title track wouldn't have gone amiss.

Elsewhere, Replica is challenging without always being rewarding. Lopatin's experiments are never less than involving, such as the bricolage of 'Nassau', for example, where abrasive noise is suddenly overlaid with plangent piano, pulling your attention back and causing you to hear the sound in a different way. But I'm uncertain if, having appreciated its maker's skill and inventiveness, I'll grow to really love this album, the way I do Geogaddi or Los Angeles. There's something about the 10 tracks on offer here which feels a little slight - a lack of depth perhaps or, ironically, a lack of development. To often I find myself waiting for a section of music to evolve, only for it to be suddenly abandoned.

However, there is much to impress on Replica, and if you're the kind of person who just can't resist an ambient synth wash (I hold up my hand), then this is an album you'll be happy to play all the way through. Whether you'll play it many more times after that, I'm not too sure.

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