Oneohtrix Point Never, Replica

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 11.08.11 in Reviews


Oneohtrix Point Never
Zoning out and tuning in at the same time

Oneohtrix Point Never has assumed an important place in the sound and theory obsessed underground with music that consumes as it compels and a unique ability to articulate his vision as something more than just a simple accumulation of “vibes.” So it goes with Replica, a mindful album that zones out and tunes in at the same time. Though he made his name with drifting, drafting synthesizer meditations reminiscent of ’70s kosmiche acts like Tangerine Dream, Oneohtrix Point Never shifts into more cut-up forms on Replica. Part of the style started to coalesce on his 2010 breakthrough Returnal, but the material here pushes harder and farther into a realm where abstraction and clarity mesh. “Andro” starts off more or less recognizably, with seething synth tones and a portentous sense of atmosphere, but a signal gets sent when the track swerves, all of the sudden, into an unexpected fit of rhythm near the end. “Power of Persuasion” takes the next step by introducing as an aural plaything the sound of a traditional piano, which proves surprisingly prevalent on the album throughout. The rest of the template sets when sampled bits of voice — or, more accurately, weird incidental sounds made by a mouth on its way to speaking — wander in during “Sleep Dealer.” It’s a strange mix of subject matter, to be sure. But it gathers into shapes that manage to approximate actual songs, with memorable parts and melodies that linger, while doubling down as experimental ambient soundscapes.