Shift. If one word reduces the acclaimed work of synth lord Oneohtrix Point Never, it may be this word.
Despite the blogosphere and electronic aficionados working themselves into a critical lather over Daniel Lopatin’s delicately dismembered tones and drones, he’s not a producer for staying static. His sound insists on gentle but perpetual movement.
His latest album, ‘Replica’, hears him obsessively piece together sound splinters from sixty-odd American TV infomercials. He’s replaced the warm fuzz of his vintage synths with the lost and frivolous moments from the televised backwaters of the world’s most commercialized country. So how did Lopatin feel after treating such coarse and unpleasant source material?
“I didn’t feel that they were horribly derived,” he explains whilst on tour in Pittsburgh. “They were fascinating at best, and at worst just dull. But finding moments of super texture or super lyricism is exciting. America’s commercialisation is all around me every day and it’s very easy to notice all the idiosyncrasies and patterns, so it is an influence. But ‘Replica’ isn’t meant to be political in that way, rather the commercials were pragmatic and contained useful sound stuff that helped me to convey certain feelings or gestures.”
His previous work had osmotically traversed the nebulous east coast noise/drone scene since 2007, with a 2009 double compilation ‘Rifts’ collecting his greatest moments. Then, just a year ago, ‘Returnal’ arrived peppered with noise and abrasion tempering his more emotional moments, the whole piece tottered to us all bleary-eyed, suggestive and drenched in memories that weren’t ours.
Thus we stand before his mutilations of infomercials but are forced to consider them as a tad of a shift. “‘Returnal’ was melodramatic in retrospect,” he admits. “I like parts of it, but I missed the tragicomedy of my earlier work. I think I did a great job obfuscating emotions on my prior records (before ‘Returnal’). And with ‘Replica’, which is so much about semiotics and breaking cliches or finding pockets of tragedy within comedy and vice versa, I feel like I’ve returned to what I really like to do.”
Words by Matthew Bennett
Photography by Winona Barton-Ballentine
This article appears in the October issue of Clash Magazine, find out more about the issue and how to subscribe HERE.