Review Summary: Daniel Lopatin indulges in darker atmospheres with an erratic flair.
Daniel Lopatin’s project Oneohtrix Point Never has emerged as one of the forerunners of modern innovative electronic music. There have been subtle changes to his style over time, but Garden of Delete
is the most drastic so far and sounds truly uncompromising. The penchant for technological patterns that sounded intricate yet fragmented is shown through a darker, more disturbing lens here. Lopatin’s music has always been challenging and unique, but Garden of Delete
takes things to new heights masterfully. A 30-second intro of static noise and warbled noises introduces the album and “Ezra” follows, with a sharply edited melodic phrase that spirals into all manner of developments and varied instrumentation. “Sticky Drama” follows and unfolds like a demented dance track, meshing together fast edits of frantic drums blasting, an epic chorus with alien vocals, and wall-of-sound synthesizers. Nothing about this song should work and by all accounts be a complete mess, however Lopatin displays a remarkable skill at stitching these disparate elements together and completely pulls it off. This is the skill behind what the album becomes: a transformative and unpredictable experience that sounds truly unique.
Garden of Delete
contains so many ideas and musical passages that multiple albums probably could have been made from it. The epic “Mutant Standard” begins relatively patiently with samples and busy rhythms that gradually become noisier and more bewildering as it goes on, contorting itself in all manner of sounds throughout. Some moments offer a reprieve, including calmer album highlights that sound fitting for predecessor R Plus Seven
like “Child of Rage,” “No Good,” and “Freaky Eyes.” The latter begins meditatively, but transitions into a glittery pop melody which transforms into a dissonant soundscape of high-pitched squeals and distorted voices before calming down into static and ambiance. Garden of Delete
may consistently seem intent on pushing the boundaries of taste, but impressively does not devolve into self-indulgence or gimmicks. Even at its most off-putting, the sounds are purposeful and pre-planned. The record is so ever-changing and intricate that it remains one of the most rewarding electronic albums of the decade. Garden of Delete
contains sounds that could be from another dimension, one just as random and twisted as ours, just without the pretense of order.