Exploring the electronic music of Oneohtrix Point Never

by Ryo Miyauchi

Electronic musician Daniel Lopatin likes to play with sounds. As Oneohtrix Point Never, Lopatin creates immersive arrangements that explore the infinite possibilities that can be created with a synthesizer. He twists electronic sounds into countless forms while messing around with how each sound can be perceived by his audience. On Feb. 8, Lopatin will perform his music at The Irenic in promotion of his latest critically acclaimed album, “R Plus Seven.”

From synthesizer epics to being one of the composers for Director Sofia Coppola’s film, “The Bling Ring,” Lopatin’s music as Oneohtrix Point Never is constantly changing. What ties all of his records together is a sense of curiosity and application of ideas into a fresh context. Lopatin has used many synthesized sounds from a forgotten past and reapplied them in a different angle. A sound or idea that could have been deemed disposable turns into something novel in the hands of Lopatin.

While Lopatin has been previous known for composing songs that are more airy and shapeless, the music inside “R Plus Seven” has a very solid character. Despite the change in palette, Lopatin continues to do what he does best and transforms sounds in intriguing ways to be closely observed. One of his songs, “Problem Areas,” has Lopatin introducing a bright sound and highlighting its physical aspects. The sharp edges of that particular sound stands out as Lopatin complements it with softer sounds, such as synthesized horns and organs. Throughout the course of “Problem Areas,” Lopatin avoids stuffing the music with too much content, keeping a sweet melody throughout.

The visual component of an Oneohtrix Point Never show plays a strong part in the live experience. As Lopatin plays the keyboard and trigger samples behind the control board, images and animations appear in sync with the music. Depending on the song, random images may flicker in a chaotic manner to match the rhythms, or a soothing backdrop may appear to flow with the mood. For music that can feel a bit abstract or noisy for the uninitiated, the images serve as a stable guide.

Lopatin will perform his music as Oneohtrix Point Never on Feb. 8 at The Irenic. The closed, intimate space of The Irenic should be a fitting venue to bring his adventurous music to life.

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