Oneohtrix Point Never

Age Of

Daniel Lopatin expands his digital realm

Electronic music is so often described with the same restrictive terminologies – around sci-fi, technology, the future – regardless of what it’s actually trying to convey. Passion, lust, nature, sexuality and identity are as quintessential in electronic music as in any genre, but they’re often missed in the discourse that surrounds it. Oneohtrix Point Never, or Daniel Lopatin, has been stuck with some of these preconceptions – his rise as an artist is highly indebted to internet culture but the profoundly human element to his music is often overlooked. Now, with Age Of, he’s broken away from virtuality with a concept that serves as metaphor for his own artistic progression.

The record follows a group of all-knowing, jaded AIs who immerse themselves in the beauty of humanity that includes sexuality, nature and lust. They travel back in time, and the excursion is scored by Lopatin’s most fragmented work to date. It opens with beautiful harpsichord playing accompanied by choral vocals and synths that call back from OPN’s 2017 Good Time score.

After this, we’re thrown into the mangled vortex which is Age Of, and every track is pretty much a detour from the last. ‘Babylon’ is a bit of a cheesy country tune, while ‘The Station’ is, in Lopatin’s own words, “an OPN’d out Jermaine Dupri song”. At the core of Age Of, Lopatin is kind of making pop music, but it’s defective; some tracks feel like Now That’s What I Call Music compilation caught in a nuclear blast. The second half of the record is a ghastly mirror to the first: we hear vocals by Prurient on the aptly titled ‘Warning’, which is frantic and terrifying, then Anohni sings a military chant on ‘Same’. These tracks sounds a lot more like the Oneohtrix we know.

Continuing in the vein of once-elusive but now-omnipresent artists like Arca and Sophie, Lopatin brings his voice to the forefront. The vocals are still modulated, but less so than on Garden Of Delete – for the first time Lopatin the human is on show, at the head of what he’s doing rather than a behind-the-scenes instigator. On Anohni’s version of Oneohtrix’s 2010 song ‘Returnal’, she sings: “Internet as a self-atomising machine / I designed it.” Age of sees Daniel Lopatin, like the AIs of his album, escape his digital restraints and make his most human record to date.

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