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Since 2007 Oneohtrix Point Never has gone from releasing limited edition CDR’s of New Age influenced drone music, then finding critical acclaim with his compilation album “Rifts” (2009) and official debut album “Returnal” (2010) which saw him move into more complex and edited version of his trademark sound. His last album “Replica” saw him take things a step further embracing the micro edits techniques associated with electronica artists such as Autechre, Aphex Twin and Fennesz. This has lead to his first album for Warp Records home to both Autechre and Aphex Twin. I’ll admit that at first I was unsure about why Oneohtrix Point Never had signed for Warp but after hearing ‘Problem Areas’ from the album it became clear that this album belongs in that lineage of artists.

The album starts as it means to go on with seemingly predetermined structures playing out across the track (not something that Oneohtrix is known) and micro details often passing in the blink of an eye. Oddly this feels like Oneohtrix’s most accessible offering to date and he has scaled back on the irriating micro edited rhythmic vocal sampling of “Replica” but the album also feels like a grower not music with an immediate impact. ‘Boring Angel’ opens with huge held synth chords that have a religious church organ vibe. Insistent yet distant wooden percussion is tapped out in the background. More layers of synth/organ enter creating an even more beautiful, immense and dense sound. Around one minute 30 seconds in a synth arpeggio suddenly springs into life, followed by a rhythmic cutting synth sound that is almost like a human vocal that’s been micro edited. Things breakdown to just calm vocal pad and then church organ epicness for the outro of the track it ends abruptly. Its followed by ‘Americans’ a jungle of complex wet with reverb sounds open the track before being adruptly interupted and an arpeggio that sounds like Gamelan music comes in, swiftly followed by a counterpoint melody that sounds like a female voice another that’s sythetic yet wooden. After a chaotic middle section on which its hard to keep track of the sounds flying around your ears, everything does calm, the track breaking down to just lush synth pad for about thirty sounds before the original melodies all steadily reintroduce themselves.


Across the there’s an implied hip-hop influence (in fact, Oneohtrix recently admiteed to being “obsessed” with Nicki Minaj) and this goes some way to explaing why this Onehotrix’s most coherently percussive album to date. The tracks that best represent this stylistic change are ‘He She’, ‘Along’, ‘Cryo’ and ‘Still Life’. Both ‘He She’ and ‘Along’ share oriental melodies that hint at the Minaj obsession and a lot of percussive stab sounds that have used since the mid 80’s when hip-hop producers got their hands on the first samplers. ‘Cryo’ and ‘Still Life’ share the current underground hip-hop scenes love of heavy yet minimal and super slow beats.


One of the album’s highlights is ‘Zebra’ which sees Oneohtrix trying his hand at ambient techno (albeit while never actually letting the track take off) its use of techno like synth, synthetic vocal choir coated in thick and a piano melody make the track like a collaboration with Laurel Halo. The album closes with ‘Chrome Country’ big expressive synth chords open this track, 30 seconds in there joined by female vocals harmonies, synth stabs, a distant piano arpeggio that steadily fades in to become the main melody and a deep bass that falls on the first beat of the bar. The vocal samples take the lead briefly before then playing counterpoint to the piano and a couple of other melodic snippets that fall in and out of the mix. An synth melody gets involved around two minutes 30 seconds before the track breaks down briefly to just pad and strings at 3 mins 10 secs. Then the piano arp plays above then joined shortly after by a grand organ melody and female choir pad before the whole track is faded out.
“R Plus Seven” is Oneohtrix Point Never’s most accessible album to date and yet at the same it feels like a grower. I put this down the fact that its a very technical and structured album that lacks the emotional immediace that so much of his earlier material so brilliant and vivid. This album is a Warp Records and in time with reveal all of its intricate details and maybe some emotional resonances. It’s by no means the worst Oneohtrix Point Never album (for me that’s “Replica”) and has some great tracks across the album. It’s an album that’s worth checking out and spending some time with but it is a different beast to previous Oneohtrix albums.

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