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Oneohtrix Point Never “R Plus Seven” – Album Review

Warp (2013)

Brooklyn-based producer Oneohtrix Point Never’s fourth studio effort, R Plus Seven, has been described by his camp as the closest he’s ever gotten to anything resembling a traditional song structure, which tells you everything you need to know about just how abstract, challenging and wonderfully strange his previous work has been.

Despite the transfer from a small-time indie label to Warp Records and an unlikely venture into Hollywood with his score to Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, Daniel Lopatin’s follow-up to 2011’s Replica is still a bewildering and highly fragmented affair which is more likely to leave you spinning around in a daze than singing along in unison.

Indeed, there’s so much going on here that it’s almost impossible to keep up. “Zebra” begins with a vibrant blend of stuttering acid house synths before making way for what appears to be a wasp buzzing over a Gregorian choir. Elsewhere, “Inside World” blends a series of sharp intakes of breath with everything from oriental chimes to yearning strings to what could well be a didgeridoo.

The church organ chords which kick off the jammed arcade game soundtrack of opener “Boring Angel” and finish the cinematic closer, “Chrome County,” lend R Plus Seven some sense of cohesion, as do the warm multi-layered Enya-esque vocals which surround its ten sound collages.

But even when there are the occasional signs of a tangible melody, Oneohtrix Point Never can’t resist twisting it beyond all recognition—most notably on “Still Life”, which initially hints at a soothing New Age production before tuning out to the kind of nightmarish rave which makes Crystal Castles seem like kids party favorites; and “Problem Areas,” which borrows the pitch-shifted hook from Nu Shooz’s post-disco classic “I Can’t Wait” and combines it with trippy layers of arpeggiated synths and startling bursts of brass.

R Plus Seven, therefore, isn’t for the faint-hearted. But Oneohtrix Point Never has undoubtedly created one of the most absorbing, if utterly baffling, electronica records of the year.

4 / 5 stars     

About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music