Review Summary: Point is, among many other things, an exploration of the acoustic guitar as a percussive instrument.
Point is the work of an artist so absolutely in demand of his craft that to dispute any aspect of its production would be to misunderstand the meticulousness that went behind every ingenious decision on the album. With drums both warm and harsh, vocal manipulations that coalesce into lush harmonizing textures, unbelievable aural transformations that bend and twist certain sounds into others, and a generally masterful approach to the arrangement of separate sounds to create singular rhythms and patterns, Point is a quintessential example of how traditional pop song craft can be stretched to one of its furthest logical conclusions.
Point is, among many other things, an exploration of the acoustic guitar as a percussive instrument. To be fair, nearly every element of sound in the songs here has a punchy, rhythmic quality to it. The main exception being the meaty choruses in which every sound popping around in the airspace all come together to form a concatenation so rich that you feel it in your stomach. Many times the second chorus of a song will be followed by an insane bridge that will take you on a journey very far away from the song only to have you crash back into another verse as if nothing had happened.
A good example of Cornelius’s innovative approach to rhythm is the water bubbling in the background of Drop. The sound has a wonderfully tense quality to it in which you can’t quite tell if its gurgling to the rhythm of the song or not. This puts the discerning listener in a state of heightened attention that gets ***ing uppercut when the chorus comes in with the blasting bass line and sparkling acoustic guitars. The bass lines are uniformly large on the album's choruses, particularly in Drop, but they’re never boisterous and always inviting. As a side note, the way the bridge in Drop mimics the sound of coming up to the surface of water for air is just so playfully cheeky that you can’t help but smile.
The production is some of the best that can be heard in all of recorded music. When listened to on headphones the sounds have such a presence and location that each can be pinpointed in the mix with razor sharp precision. Your head becomes the center of a musical galaxy in which the layers of sound become planets orbiting your brain. They are seriously THAT pristinely recorded and placed in the mix. Even on the slower, more meditative tracks like Tone Twilight Zone the amount of sounds juxtaposed so cleanly and purposefully are enough to withstand hundreds of listens without diminished interest.
Both complex and easy-going, Point is just a wonderful listen from beginning to end. Each song brings something new and endearing to the table without ever straying too far away from Cornelius’s established aesthetic in order to draw undue attention to itself. It’s a work of confidence, to be sure. Less raucous than anything Cornelius had done up until that point, it’s almost as if he knew in order to ratchet things up in interest he needed to tone back the distortion and let his sounds breathe. It’s certainly this attention to the interrelations of the timbres and pitches of his instruments that allowed him to dive into them with such gusto and exactitude.