Oneohtrix Point Never
Commissions I


4.0
excellent

Review

by MisterTornado CONTRIBUTOR (47 Reviews)
April 19th, 2014 | 44 replies


Release Date: 04/19/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The spirit of the viritual

In an interview with Blouin Artinfo, Tim Hecker (ambient connoisseur and fellow collaborator with Daniel Lopatin [aka Oneohtrix Point Never]) told the online art publisher that “I like the idea of fake church music as opposed to real church music” and in many ways Oneohtrix Point Never’s latest EP is the indoctrination of this idea. Commissions I collects three pieces for performance, artwork, and film over the past few years and is set to be an exclusive Record Store Day release. However this is far more than a gimmicky one-off exclusive that many artists choose to release in the spirit of Record Store Day, as Commissions I assembles some of most spirited and achingly resonant music Lopatin has yet created. This is music for digital sanctuaries, shrines, and cathedrals; a virtual synchronization of various forms of musical hybridity in constant, sweeping elevation toward tangible real-world spirituality.

Booting up this whimsical module is a piece that was composed for Polish Icons at Sacrum Profanum, a performance staple for Warp records that has hosted the likes of Clark and Aphex Twin. During this performance Lopatin interpreted composer Witold Lutoslawski's Preludes with ‘Music for Steamed Rocks’, which has since become an essential key to Lopatin’s live set. It’s interesting to hear Lutoslawksi’s original interpreted through such a modern gaze; whereas the original evokes imagery of an elegant ballet, Lopatin’s evokes something far more grandiose and monumental in aural stature. Featuring his trademark choral synths that adorned much of R Plus Seven alongside sweeping drones and cathedral-esque breadth, its trance-inducing and achingly melancholic breakdown midway leaves a shiver in the spine of its quiet and introspective audience; masterfully balancing his electronic modulations and soaring arpeggiated resonance. ‘Music for Steamed Rocks’ is Oneohtrix Point Never at his most cinematic, taking the majesty and vastness of a full orchestra and stripping it down to a series of contemporary pads and textures without losing an ounce of its skyward momentum.

Following this momentum is ‘Meet Your Creator’, which originally appeared in the Saatch & Saatchi Quadrotor performance for their New Directors Showcase in 2012. ‘Meet Your Creator’ (implied in the title) essentially acts as the aural overlord of its mechanized performance piece, which was built around a troupe of 16 quadrotors (aka flying robots) that danced to sound created by Lopatin while simultaneously manipulating an extravagant light show. The performance was dazzling to say the least, with the mini War of the Worlds tripod-esque robots lighting up and beaming lights in every direction around a triangular nexus; seamlessly blended futurist technology with Lopatin’s overarching score. This piece in particular resembles the archaic progressive electronic Lopatin was tapping into on his first few records, however, where those early recordings relied on simple and repetitive themes, ‘Meet Your Creator’ takes that sound and expands it into its incidental score of the irrational and synthetic nature of its robotic stage show.

The final piece of Commissions I, ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, was featured as a part of Doug Aitken’s “Happening” at the Hirschorn Museum in Washington, D.C. The piece was used alongside a number of other artists who contributed renditions of the classic pop song of the same name (originally composed by Harry Warren and Al Dubin in 1934 and made famous by The Flamingos in 1959) where it was projected alongside video on the outside of the Hirschorn Museum. Naturally Oneohtrix’s version is a far cry from the original, featuring mammoth choral drones and stuttering pitch-shifted vocals, yet despite the transformation it manages to evoke a similar kind of airy and dream-like quality The Flamingos doo-wop version does. Within the temple of Commissions I's spiritual resonance, ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ closes things out rightfully with boundless layers of synthetic choral textures that emulate the gravity of a colossal cathedral. It also demonstrates a good example of how Oneohtrix toys with the plasticity of genre by taking eschewed vocals from pre-existing songs alongside his own combination of ambient, drone, progressive electronic, and new age textures to create a unrecognizable hybrid of sound that remains strangely familiar and accessible. Whether Commissions I is meant to be music of faith, gospel, or spirituality is uncertain. However, it is program music that ascends its contextual narrative and has the power and depth to stimulate at powerful emotional levels; be it through nostalgia and a memory of the past, an introspective gaze of the present, or a soaring and optimistic view of the future.



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2014


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'Music for Steamed Rocks' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vhnMkcK5yo

'Meet Your Creator' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cseTX_rW3uM

Underflow
April 19th 2014


2587 Comments


Definitely enjoyed his last full length. I'll check this out, thanks for the review.

NinoKuni
April 19th 2014


198 Comments


Not a very good review

Relinquished
April 19th 2014


25488 Comments


yea it's more than very good

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2014


18858 Comments


sweet gotta grab this next paycheck

Digging: Substance / Vainqueur - Reverberation / Reverberate

NinoKuni
April 19th 2014


198 Comments


It's hyperbolic and gets caught up in its own flowery descriptors("a virtual synchronization of various forms of musical hybridity [new word?] in constant, sweeping elevation toward tangible real-world spirituality.

Tangible spirituality?

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2014


18858 Comments


hybridity is definitely a real word and this review rocks

Relinquished
April 19th 2014


25488 Comments


i'd fuck this review through tangible spirituality if i wasn't already in a relationship

NinoKuni
April 19th 2014


198 Comments


Huh, I guess it is. Learn something new every day

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2014


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lol how is hybridity a new word (a quick google search renders your little argument completely invalid). It's simply a product of your lack of vocabulary. I was referring tangible spirituality to the fact that despite the synthetic nature of the music, you can still experience real emotions from it (hints something you can feel [tangible]).

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

when you say church music it just makes me want to listen to Alio Die (although the new Saaad is doing just fine).

Good review!

NinoKuni
April 19th 2014


198 Comments


No need to get rude, nor to imply that my vocabulary is lacking because you knew a word that I didn't (congratulations). In fact, I didn't even argue the point. And tangible is defined as what is perceptible via touch - the physical. "Tangible spirituality" is contradictory

Relinquished
April 19th 2014


25488 Comments


he wasn't being rude // grow thicker skin

and do you even know what metaphors are????

NinoKuni
April 19th 2014


198 Comments


If it's a metaphor it's an incorrect one.

"you can still experience real emotions from it (hints something you can feel [tangible]). "

He's confusing tangible to mean something you can feel on an emotional level, but it doesn't mean that. Something that's tangible is something substantial, something material, using it in the context he did is nonsensical

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2014


18858 Comments


thats definitely wrong, once again a simple google search shows you that tangible can be used to mean something that is definite, not vague or elusive, and thus works perfectly fine the way he used it

plus tangible is used that way all the time so im not exactly sure why you are even arguing this point

Gyromania
April 19th 2014


15964 Comments


the review is good, but the tangible spirituality thing doesn't make sense and i sure as hell couldn't make a case for it, even if i were to play devil's advocate. relinquished i'm worried that you don't know what metaphors are. like, "he's drowning in a sea of grief" is a metaphor because the 'sea' is to place emphasis on how much grief he has, but 'tangible real-world spirituality' doesn't mean anything, even if you were to try to say something like 'it's so real it's practically tangible'

Relinquished
April 19th 2014


25488 Comments


"the tangible spirituality thing doesn't make sense and i sure as hell couldn't make a case for it, even if i were to play devil's advocate"

"i'm worried that you don't know what metaphors are"

Gyromania
April 19th 2014


15964 Comments


it can be used to describe something definite, like 'no tangible explanation' but in this context it looks weird, especially when relating to something as intangible as spirituality

CaptainDooRight
April 19th 2014


30239 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

so much raping

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

Relinquished
April 19th 2014


25488 Comments


"in this context it looks weird, especially when relating to something as intangible as spirituality"

grief is intangible. yet he drowns in it. spirituality is intangible. yet he can feel it.



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