Review Summary: I'm loving it
On previous longplayers, Daniel Lopatin crafted mesmerising pieces of music that shimmered in the great cold distance, glimmering stars burning through a pitch black tapestry of silence. On his latest effort, however, he brings a welcome pinch of restless humanity into the mix; according to the artist himself Replica
is a ‘song cycle based around lo-fi audio procured from television advertisement compilations’. Interestingly enough, Lopatin has also introduced piano to complement the vocals on his recordings; music that was previously daunting in its remoteness to the listener has been draw closer by delicate hands cascading slowly over keys, coaxing out fresh sounds that at times seem almost reluctant to emerge from the shadowy sonic soundscape of augustly droning synths. The overlying samples are cut from forgotten and unidentifiable adverts and dissected beyond recognition; the gasps of a couple taking satisfying gulps from of a nameless soft drink become surprisingly sexually charged when they are woven together into the sultry sonic bedroom tapestry of lead single Sleep Dealer
. Fortunately, what could have been a Bill Hicks’ style scrapbook of the worst that capitalism has to offer is in fact a compelling and occasionally enthralling aural snapshot of humanity; the fact that these nameless voices are never totally articulate and are often completely submerged in waves of synths and haunting melody means that any tasteless message is drowned sublimely in the musical mix.
What results is a fantastic blend of gently emotive piano pieces, disturbing vocal snippets and lethargic synths that buzz like insects over the gorgeous aural flowerbeds; an unquestionably bizarre mix that nevertheless works wonders. Forget art as hermetically sealed process of creation; this is the sound of an artist engaging with his environment, manipulating and shaping it into new and unfamiliar forms. Penultimate track Child Soldier
is of particular note; an initially frenetic and corrosive staccato vocal sample is gradually subjugated by glowing violins and patient entreaties from a nameless crooner. It’s rough, jarring and shouldn’t really work, but it does. Beautifully.
Try your best to imagine a Foley room recording of Satie playing piano with his eyes glued to a mindless Saturday morning breakfast show, one hand fumbling at the keys whilst the other frenetically crams Oreos into a crumb flecked and syrup stained maw. Replica
, in its most interesting moments, sounds a bit like this; that this method results in something that is at all appealing is testament to the skill of the composer, whose talent at weaving a soft synthetic landscape of sound provides a fitting backdrop to the occasional lunacy.
is as replica does; by clever sampling and an uncanny knack for constructing gorgeous sonic landscapes Oneohtrix Point Never has forged a transcendent yet wholly immanent soundtrack to a second life that astonishes with its quiet poignancy and subtly devastating charm.