Review: Oneohtrix Point Never — Magic Oneohtrix Point Never

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 at 5:31 PM
Review: Oneohtrix Point Never — Magic Oneohtrix Point Never by Teddy Rankin

As losing presidential candidate and music icon Kanye West once put it, “Name one genius that ain’t crazy.” Oneohtrix Point Never’s latest release teeters on the edges of insanity and musical revelation. The partially self-titled album, “Magic Oneohtrix Point Never,” consists of incredibly unique synth tones and often unintelligible vocals that combine to create a cinematic soundscape that is unlike anything you’ve heard before.

Oneohtrix Point Never (OPN) is the performance name of Brooklyn-based musician and producer Daniel Lopatin. Movie lovers may recognize Lopatin’s one-of-a-kind style from soundtracks of the Safdie Brothers’ films “Good Time” and “Uncut Gems.” Even more notable though is OPN’s producer credit on The Weeknd’s 2020 album “After Hours,” which included radio hits “Blinding Lights” and “In Your Eyes.” The Weeknd returned the favor by sharing a producer credit on OPN’s new album. Lopatin has also produced for other trendsetters like FKA Twigs and David Byrne. 

“Magic Oneohtrix Point Never” is divided up by installments of “Cross Talk”: four short interludes that feature samples of voices from the radio. These tracks indicate a switching of the dial to a new movement within the album; the voices that you hear are intended to be the stations between the different sections. In “Cross Talk IV / Radio Lonelys,” a voice can be heard saying, “You know there’s lots of different music in America, but background music is the heart and soul,” before another voice says, “And this dream will self-destruct in three, two…” 

There are certainly some more accessible and melodic songs on the album, like “Long Road Home” and “I Don’t Love Me Anymore.” It is on tracks like these that OPN can demonstrate where this genre intersects with reality. A well-known vocalist could theoretically sing on these tracks and transform them from experimental to cutting-edge mainstream.  

Yet another example of OPN’s versatility is “The Weather Channel.” This song slowly crescendos from minimalist beeps to a futuristic mumble rap anthem. OPN’s massive range and unpredictability shines through here. 

Daniel Lopatin is an extremely talented producer with a knack for bursting through sonic expectations. However, the bottom line is that experimental noise music is not for everyone. The tones used on this album sound unique because they are, and that can be off-putting. The detailed production on “Magic Oneohtrix Point Never” is worthy of at least one listen on your nicest speakers because nothing else sounds quite like it. 

Teddy Rankin is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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