Oneohtrix Point Never
R Plus Seven


4.0
excellent

Review

by hyperi0n STAFF
September 30th, 2013 | 206 replies


Release Date: 09/30/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: drowning in the sea of information.

For all intents and purposes, R Plus Seven is exactly what the world should have expected from Daniel Lopatin's major independent label debut. All the elements that have come to be expected from his pastiche of nostalgia are present -- the hand crafted palette of synth pads straight out of the arpeggiator on his Juno-60, the sampling and layering of contradictory sound bits from any number of decades produced by an age of technological oversaturation and overstimulation. The constant strain between rhythmic pulses and the formless ambient sound design that pervades his entire catalogue all sort of jumble into one big ball of postmodern aesthetic and get thrown against the wall to see what sticks. Yet, there's something different this time around, and that something has managed to wiggle itself far enough into the woodwork of Lopatin's synthetic world to fundamentally change how R Plus Seven sounds relative to the rest of his work as well as how it was meant to be consumed.

Oneohtrix Point Never's music up to this point has always been sort of guileless and ideologically barren in a way that's both charming and engaging. Even up to his previous release, Replica (which introduced a newfound interest in sonic bricolage) Lopatin's music remained grounded in an atmosphere of whimsical nostalgia that was never interested in challenging the motivations of its audience. R Plus Seven is a new beast entirely, a journey that feels like waking up from a happy dream only to find out that dreams are an incomplete version of the real world, retaining only what we want to see. "Boring Angel" opens the album as unassumingly as it possibly could, with a soft fog of synthetic organ and small showers of arpeggios and synth noodling. However, as soon as Americans kicks in with broken splashes of children playing on a sunny day, the direction of R Plus Seven shifts by orders of magnitude into the familliar world of overstimulation that Lopatin has previously toyed with, but viewed through a lens of criticality rather than nostalgia and harmless retroism.

Even though R Plus Seven functions as a similar sonic palette to those Lopatin has worked with before, it is punctuated by splashes of noise and discord that act as a sort of deconstruction of the domains his music previously inhabited. The first few tracks on the album, namely "Americans" and "Inside World", are characterized by sections of cohesive progressions and arrangements interrupted by jolts of discordant sounds that penetrate into the sphere which the core musicality of the album inhabits. This has the effect, for both the music itself and the listener, of creating a world of alluring imperfections, like looking through a broken telescope and seeing only splashes of light and form. Each composition can be consumed both as a whole and as individual bites of sound, where each burst functions as its own microcosm of music.

The middle portion of R Plus Seven sees the punctuated discordance of the first few tracks slowly shift into more ordered and focused compositions that resemble the efforts on Replica more often than not. After the brash and intrusive nature of the album's opening tracks, this minor shift in tone provides a period where the listener can connect to the atmosphere of the music with a visceral clarity that R Plus Seven initially eschews. Tracks like "Zebra" and "Problem Areas" allow the musician in Lopatin to overtake the theorist, showcasing his talent for creating engaging compositions that almost beg for repeated listens. Yet, the true brilliance underlying these separate sections of R Plus Seven is that the songs themselves function almost like the individual blots of noise that pervade most of the tracks on the album. There is a thematic cohesion that encompasses the record that is seemingly counterintuitive on initial listens but becomes more and more apparent as the precisely calculated position of each sound reveals itself. This provides a framework for an album that necessitates multiple listens to properly digest, as many of the concepts become both thematically and compositionally deconstructed over the course of the runtime.

Yet, there is an ever growing presence of anxiety and sinister apprehension that pervades the length of R Plus Seven, a constantly building crescendo threatening to break at any moment. And it is on "Still Life", the climax of the album and one of the most visceral Oneohtrix Point Never tracks to date, where this tension finally breaks in a calamitous burst of washed out rave aesthetic. Yet, this final burst of tension is not simply one of musical climax, but simultaneously the point at which the fundamental difference between R Plus Seven and Lopatin's previous works becomes glaringly apparent, and many of the self contained criticisms show themselves as well. R Plus Seven is an album that not only deconstructs the sonic fabric of his previous efforts, but takes an extremely critical eye to the motivations behind the reckless exploitation of postmodern deconstruction Lopatin began toying with during the release of Replica and the output that followed it. Where Replica saw the technologically oversaturated and overstimulated environment as a playground for constructivist exploration, R Plus Seven treats this world as a treacherous landscape of overindulgence and inflated self-importance, a land where the individual is so smothered by the inundation of information that he uses any means necessary for recognition and social evaluation. This criticism exists as a duality, placing its lens within the context of the album itself as well as extending to the environment in which it was created.

Unfortunately for Lopatin, this is what will ultimately dominate the criticism that follows the album. Because it is music that comes with no narration and no lyrics, it must say what it has to say through sound rather than speech, and the ideology behind R Plus Seven pervades the album to a point where the voice of the music and the voice of the criticism ironically clash over and over, fighting for dominance throughout the length of the album. Luckily, he has proven himself to be an excellent musician who, even under the weight of the albums philosophies, has the capacity to craft visceral and engaging compositions that ultimately make for an album that is more daunting and apprehensive than it is truly challenging. Once the initial barrier of ulterior motivation melts away, what lies beneath is a compilation of interconnected sketches that are almost contradictorily cohesive, making for an adventurous and multilayered addition to Lopatin's ever growing catalogue. Repeated listens reward the listener with hidden splashes of brilliance that give R Plus Seven a sense of freshness on each successive examination that will ultimately define it's lasting power. A record that won't soon be forgotten under the collapsing mountain of hype that preceded it, R Plus Seven is a worthwhile effort that should captivate both previous fans of Oneohtrix Point Never and newcomers to the synthetic jungle-mind of Daniel Lopatin and Oneohtrix Point Never.



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user ratings (181)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2013


18461 Comments


album isnt officially released until tomorrow but there's already an official stream so i decided to
post it now. this should really be a 3.9 because i still think both replica and returnal are better,
but this one almost holds a candle to both. who knows, theres probably more to discover here that
could change my opinion. regardless it's awesome and you should all check it out.

stream it at: http://www.npr.org/2013/09/22/224170294/first-listen-oneohtrix-point-never-r-plus-seven

Digging: Recondite - Caldera/DRGN 2

Relinquished
September 29th 2013


25038 Comments


i still can't get over that fucking video i ended up hating everything it was about

oltnabrick
September 29th 2013


30785 Comments


sweet review Hyp. Cant wait to check this out I really like Replica

Digging: Aphex Twin - Syro

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2013


18461 Comments


haha that video for still life was where i got the summary

Havey
September 29th 2013


9680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

love the review

A record what won't soon be forgotten under the collapsing mountain of hype that preceded it,

that?

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2013


18461 Comments


good catch, ill edit asap

glad you dig the review

Keyblade
September 29th 2013


14825 Comments


Only jammed once but it was sweet. Great review Hype

Digging: Strawberry Switchblade - Strawberry Switchblade

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
September 29th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Fantastic review and effort here, but

"Even up to his previous release, Replica (which introduced a newfound interest in sonic bricolage) Lopatin's music remained grounded in an atmosphere of whimsical nostalgia that was never attempted to challenge the motivations of its audience."

Disagree here. I remember how frustrating and challenging it was to be an OPN fan at the time Replica was released, to love the music "grounded in an atmosphere of whimsical nostalgia" that definitely WAS every album from Betrayed in the Octagon to Returnal. But Replica marked a huge stylistic shift from the vintage-geared arpeggiated synth drones of those early albums to awkward, studdering plunderphonics with only hints of the early synth work heard on Replica. Plus it marked his first steps into the visual realm with a video curated by Inga Copeland and Dean Blunt that absolutely captures R Plus Seven's documentation of abstractions, eschewed states, and this generation's obsession with instant access and maximization: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r3cBP1xgag

I'm also a little confused of your criticism of the album, are you saying the conceptual ideas and "aesthetics" are what make it flawed? Help me out here.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2013


18461 Comments


i understand how much of a shift replica was from his previous work, but it still his this air of
"whimiscal nostalgia", as i put it, that is completely gone on this work. tracks on replica like
sleep dealer, up, and power of persuasion sound like remembering watching recorded VCR cartoons on a
CRT that didn't quite record right. its still got this aura of hazy childhood memories that was a
big part of a lot of his material up until that point. but i think this is also kind of a matter of
perspective

and my criticism isnt necessarily that the concept behind this album (or what i find the concept to
be) necissarily makes the album flawed. in fact, tracks like Still Life and Americans wouldnt have
nearly the power the do if not for the conceptual work behind this album. my criticism is that the
album is so heavily involved in it's own aesthetic that it's almost impossible to separate music
from ideology, and therefor some of the strength of the record might be lost on those who dont "get
it" for lack of a better way of describing it

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
September 30th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah picking and choosing what exactly is sentimental and what isn't is ultimately up to the listener, but I know exactly where your getting at with those tracks on Replica. That's a good point with it being difficult to separate from its ideology, especially considering this is naturally such a dense album for discussion, and it's easy to get confused and lost in that and take it out on the music. Though I hope people who listen to this don't feel the need to cling to any sort of state of mind or philosophy when listening to this album, and instead carve what's presented here into their own beast.

dimsim3478
September 30th 2013


5009 Comments


Didn't this leak a really long time ago?

Digging: Little Big League - These Are Good People

ShitsofRain
September 30th 2013


5892 Comments


yeah

Digging: Anthony Shakir - Frictionalism 1994-2009

mindleviticus
September 30th 2013


8229 Comments


yeah this is damn solid

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

ShitsofRain
September 30th 2013


5892 Comments


how is Replica compared to this?

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2013


18461 Comments


replica was the beginning of this style but its got more in common with his older progressive electronic synth stuff than this. its better than this though so i suggest checking it out

mindleviticus
September 30th 2013


8229 Comments


replica is similiar to this with its plunderphonics but it's ultimately different

treeqt.
September 30th 2013


9704 Comments


Didn't this leak a really long time ago?


~repost this if you are a strong lopatin loyalist and not listening to the unauthorised leak~

Digging: Luigi Nono - A Pierre; Quando stanno morendo;

Keyblade
September 30th 2013


14825 Comments


*crickets*

MaskAtTheMasquerade
September 30th 2013


2887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cool album, zebra is gorg

daftpostpunk
September 30th 2013


18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Need to eventually check this out even though it's been leaked for a while now.



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