Thursday, 22 August 2013

Oneohtrix Point Never: R plus Seven

Oneohtrix Point Never is one of the few artists these days whose new releases I eagerly await and R Plus Seven, his latest and first for Warp, is impressive right off the bat. The Wire describe it, and indeed all his music (using 'Describing Bodies' as the perfect example), as sensual, and I'd agree, in a highly contemporary, fractured and digitised way. Trite and overused cliches perhaps, but it does seem to evoke the sexiness of shiny mass produced contemporary objects: plastics, silicone, chrome; shapes and forms that could only be generated by computer.

These ideas have been the subject of his cover art and concert visuals, both in his solo 'free from' show in Melbourne last December, and in <i>Reliquary House, the MOMA commissioned modern-sculpture-soundtrack work he produced with Nate Boyce (also performed in London last October). In the former, he began by focusing on static shots of humdrum household objects - chair, teapot, hammer - these remaining on screen for far longer than expected, developing a kind of Dadaist absurdity and charm through prolonged repetition. It didn't stay like this, but Ive forgotten how the rest went. Maybe like this:

With Reliquary House, absurdity and humour, again through repetition and prolongation, was even more prominent, the music seeming almost secondary. Many in the audience got up and left throughout the show, some within the first moments, and the music was noisy and harsh, glitched shards of white noise, a seasick, woozy low end, and skipping voice samples, all of which could be perceived as irritating. I thought it wonderful, a beautiful pitched dialectic between grand portentous dread and silliness, never quite resolved.

Something present in all his music, especially the Echo Jams.

Not much to say about the new album, seems similar to his December live show, but it is extremely immersive. His synths have always been thick, viscous things, and here they're massive. Even lighter passages seem to pierce like shards, with jittery samples like echoes reverberating around your head. Again cliche, but does seem to accurately reflect our era of pervasive capitalism, the all-sensory-overload of malls and business parks. That it does so with such frightening seduction is a telling comment on the workings of our modern world.

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