Oneohtrix Point Never‘s Replica must be some sort of masterpiece, an assessment quantifiable in terms of the outlandish metaphors and sci-fi jargon that bloggers and critics have already repurposed in order to describe it.
Whether you end up interpreting Replica in terms of Blade Runner or that music theory course you took back in college, it makes for a fascinating addition to the already-extensive OPN catalogue. Replica is of a piece with the synth-based drone of Rifts and Returnal, and like both of those albums, it owes much of its musicality to recurring arpeggio motifs. One of the odd paradoxes of ambient music is that a musician’s decision to incorporate more song-like elements into their work will almost always be welcomed by critics as evidence of maturation; if anything, OPN mastermind Daniel Lopatin seems to be resisting that trajectory, since nothing here matches the relatively overt pop gambit of Returnal’s title track. If Lopatin has made any concessions to accessibility this time out, they figure mostly into Replica‘s abstractly rhythmic qualities. With only one or two tracks employing anything like a beat, Lopatin’s fondness for cyclical phrasing nonetheless imbues his newest compositions with more body and direction than his previous work. And where actual percussion is employed, as on the coda to “Andro” or the title track’s recurring piano chords, the effect can be tremendous, as though the random functions of a few very noisy machines had spontaneously created something human. – Slant Magazine
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