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Baker's Dozen

Oneohtrix Point Never Talks His 13 Favourite Albums
Rory Gibb , November 18th, 2011 06:43

Following the release of his best full-length so far Replica, Daniel Lopatin, the mind behind Oneohtrix Point Never and one half of Ford & Lopatin, takes us through his 13 favourite albums. Click the image at the bottom to begin.

Snaring Daniel Lopatin to tell us about his thirteen favourite albums feels like a wise move - not least because this list has provided us with, hands down, the most retina-scorching Baker's Dozen's worth of record artwork so far (spend some time on page #13 for some sumptuous optical delights). His music as Oneohtrix Point Never has gone through a subtle but definite transition over the last four years or so, slowly developing into an ever more sophisticated web-age patchwork quilt of reference points. Some sort of guided tour around the disparate points in time and space he draws connections between would seem a useful resource for a listener attempting to plug into that matrix. The thirteen he's selected certainly confirm that Lopatin's taste in records is every bit as unique as his own take on synthesiser-based music.

While Lopatin's ended up as something of a poster boy for the boom in all things synth, his music remains deeply idiosyncratic, and doesn't settle into any category with ease. One of his most viewed tracks on YouTube doesn't even appear on any album proper: a self-described 'echo jam' of Chris De Burgh's 'Lady In Red', 'Nobody Here' sets a single fragment of the eyebrowed one's vocal performance adrift in an echo chamber, amplifying De Burgh's contrived emotion to disproportionately affecting extents.

It's that critical lens with which Lopatin views things that sets his music apart from many others using similar sound sources to lesser effect. There's a great deal of naive, disarmingly direct work within his back catalogue, but it's hyper-aware of context. He might use older analogue synths and samples more closely associated with the past, but it's to explore themes that have become uniquely of now: connectivity; the essential ephemerality and repeated cycles of popular culture (neatly captured in the title of new album Replica), pushed to extremes thanks to the killer combination of modern day capitalism plus internet. "I don't like either word at all - purity [or] authenticity - I wish they'd be banned from the lexicon of taste," he said when we interviewed him last year. "Art is all about making interesting choices at the right moment in order to yield something humane."

All atmosphere, his records crackle with electric charge, generated by the friction between several conflicting particles rubbing up against one another (the shocking blues of early Detroit techno; New Age self-exploration; eighties pop and US radio rock). 2010's expansive Returnal felt like some devolved form of club music, allowed to float free of rhythmic restrictions. Ford & Lopatin's Channel Pressure put percussion back in, a series of thick electro-pop drum machine workouts occasionally sucked into a vortex of mangled guitar.

Replica, released last week, is his best so far. Though much has been made of its source material - TV advertising broadcasts, appropriate given his ongoing engagement with the vast sound/video archive that is YouTube - that aspect is less important than his increasingly clever and varied approach to composition. "What makes Lopatin so exciting is his desire to concoct 'noise without borders'," we said in our review, "free from genre restrictions but still consistent with the delirious logic of his earlier 'computer visions'."

To start perusing Lopatin's favourite albums, click the image below.


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