Oneohtrix Point Never’s Again opens with a janky orchestral arrangement. The tenth studio album from the producer known as Daniel Lopatin, Again is a melting pot of otherworldly electronic compositions, which feel as expansive as they do intimate. There’s an effortlessness to the record, which flows smoothly between classical opener “Elseware” to the cybernetic croons of “Again”, before swiftly transitioning into a proggier sound that eventually mashes all three, like an extraterrestrial force moving through space and time.
Lopatin has previously referred to the album as a “speculative autobiography” – which adds up when you consider the unearthly sonics that inhabit it. “The album imagines what might have been, as the musician made his music through space and time. Which decisions foreclosed some realities? What might those other worlds have sounded like?” he later clarified in an accompanying statement. Alongside Lopatin and his guests, which include the likes of experimental rock musicians Xiu Xiu and Jim O’Rourke, and former Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, there’s also the addition of non-human intelligence in the shape of AI software such as OpenAI Jukebox, Adobe Enhanced Speech, and the Riffusion neural network.
The merging of organic and inorganic voices plays an important role in shaping the speculative framework in which Again unravels. The garbled nature of generative music lends a hallucinatory quality to the tracks, which stutter and babble tunefully across the 13 tracks. A transmission from the past via the near-future, it’s a beautiful listen from a producer at the height of his game.