Brooklyn-based electronic musician Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never has returned after a two-year break with an eclectic new project that is equally intriguing and engaging.
Magic Oneohtrix Point Never is the ninth studio album Lopatin has put out under his alias Oneohtrix Point Never and was recorded during a COVID enforced lockdown between March and July earlier this year.
Lopatin changes things up a bit on here musically with a greater focus on songwriting, while vocals are also more of a centre point, just the second project where this has been the case for him.
Executive produced by man of the moment The Weeknd, Lopatin takes most of the reigns across the seventeen track album, engineering all the tracks, while showing off his wizardry when it comes to production, production that is in the vein of electronic legends such as Aphex Twin and Jon Hopkins.
The record is jam-packed with high points including "Auto & Allo" and "Long Road Home", both of which features strings and spacey vocoder vocals from Lopatin, vocals which reminded me of New Zealand’s very own Kody Nielson and his Silicon project.
Things do get more up-tempo in places as well, including during the bouncy beat-heavy "I don’t love me anymore". This is an appreciated change of pace and a sure sign this collection of songs is not entirely one dimensional in terms of its overall feel.
There is also time for some guest input as well vocally, including The Weeknd himself on the dreamy "No Nightmares", a track very much in keeping with his album from earlier in the year After Hours, and Arca, who does what Arca does on the dramatic all be it slightly haunting track "Shifting" (See above).
In total, this is an impressive return from Lopatin with the eclectic nature of these tracks making for a fascinating listen overall. In many respects, this album highlights how experimental electronic music does not have to stay within strict norms and that there are endless possibilities with this style if you are willing to push the boat out sound-wise and take risks.
I would also say that the brilliant album art that accompanies this project is the perfect visual to go with the more dreamy ambient tracks on here such as "Lost but Never Alone", making for an extra mind-bending listening experience.
To quote 60s LSD advocate Timothy Leary, Magic Oneohtrix Point Never really is an album to turn on, tune in, and drop out to, and in a year full of anxiety and uncertainty, offers some peace of mind, even if just for forty-seven minutes.