“A collection of profound and epic album reviews and musical articles by former astronaut and brain surgeon, Alasdair Kennedy. Reaching levels of poetry that rival Keats and Blake, the following reviews affirm Alasdair to be a prodigy, a genius and a god whose opinion is always objectively right. He is also without a doubt the most modest man in the universe.” - Alasdair Kennedy
Review of 'Garden of Delete' by Oneohtrix Point Never
Experimental US producer Daniel Lopatin (AKA Oneohtrix Point
Never) has delivered this new electronic epic inspired by hypergrunge band,
Heard of Kaoss Edge before? Familiar with hypergrunge? Me neither.
The general consensus seems to be that despite a Soundcloud account and a scary website with 90s graphics, Kaoss Edge don’t actually exist. Which means this
album was influenced by a band that don’t exist.
Why try to fool us like this? Is Lopatin trying to screw with our sense
of reality? Most likely, yes.
Nothing is real!
Artificiality seems to be the main goal of Garden of Delete – an attempt to make an
album that sounds as unhuman as possible. It’s an album so artificial, even its
influences aren’t real. Every track is a mass of cold synths, slathered in
digital effects and often chopped and screwed to sound glitchy as if devised by
a sentient computer. There are some vocals peppered throughout the album but
they’re so distorted they might as well be robotic garbles (I was astonished to
discover that this album actually had lyrics).
Fortunately, despite sounding so mechanical, Lopatin does
seem to be showing an emotive side on this album that was less prominent in the
ponderous ambience and MIDI-trumpet noodling of his last full-length. The
sounds are more aggressive and industrial this time around, the sound of a cyber-creature
but one with a soul if at all possible. His songs are artificial but alive, textures
building and morphing in an exciting and utterly unpredictable fashion, ‘Mutant
Standard’ being a prime example beginning with sharp techno pulses contrasted
with giant glossy open swells before slowly erupting into a series of loud
synthesizer arpeggios like some android Van Halen.
In fact, talking of Van Halen, there’s a lot of rock music
flavours seeping through. Many of the synths on this album have been creatively
engineered to resemble guitars in tone, whilst some of the percussion is
vaguely metal such as the speedy kick drums on ‘Sticky Drama’.
Sadly, like all Oneohtrix Point Never releases, Garden of Delete can often be
frustrating in its chaotic structure. Lopatin has never made electronic music
for dancing to – if you tried it would most likely take the form of a seizure. His
music is grooveless and devoid of hooks, which means that there isn’t much direction
to cling onto. Things might be a little easier on the ear if Lopatin allowed
more climaxes to his songs. ‘Mutant Standard’ clearly has this and is one of
the better tracks because of it, whilst the other numbers seem to either
abruptly cut out such as ‘SDFK’ or disappointingly trail off such as the closer
Clearly, Lopatin likes to tease his listeners, but he can
get too carried away, sometimes never really offering a pay-off to all his winding
suspense. If Garden of Delete is
indeed a garden, then it’s a maze with no clear centre or way out. Some patient
listeners may be able to enjoy it, but personally I need a climax, otherwise I’m
left with blue balls.