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Album review: Oneohtrix Point Never’s ‘Garden of Delete’

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Four stars

Oneohtrix Point Never Garden of Delete

For its 2016 Southern Nevada festival, Further Future could not have picked a better performer than Oneohtrix Point Never. The electronic experimentalist born Daniel Lopatin is the artistic embodiment of the future, represented in how his work pushes forward contemporary music—partially by recontextualizing past and present sounds—philosophizes our modern dilemmas and humanizes the machinery used to craft it. Lopatin manages all this on Garden of Delete, a sonic and conceptual leap from its more ambient, still revelatory predecessor, 2013’s R Plus Seven.

Garden, while no less atmospheric, is much more dense and restless, displayed in its myriad sampling, stitchwork and genre-hopping. As such, sudden shifts dominate the work, especially the child-like “Ezra,” Lopatin layering the usual synth pads with overstimulated arpeggios and treated guitar chords. “I Bite Through It” blends Daft Punk anthemry and Aphex Twin glitch, with added dashes of string plucks, death-metal riffage and MIDI epilepsy. And the dystopian, pummeling trance of the centerpiece “Mutant Standard” could be the sped-up score to a thrilling sci-fi film. It all suggests overzealous studio brainstorming, but Garden is too emotionally dynamic to be impersonal—even with its manic edits, hence the metaphorical title—and its collages too considered to be haphazard. Lopatin will earn his coronation having produced a frenetic work that nonetheless achieves—and expands the definition of—harmony.

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