The one-man space-ambient project of Daniel Lopatin, Oneohtrix Point Never, is more concerned with the background than the foreground. His debut Rifts smothers you with arcane haze, apocalyptic drone, and dementia-inducing synth for 27 difficult but rewarding tracks. Like his heroes Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada, Daniel creates electronic music for the brain rather than the hips. He's unafraid to author dense, claustrophobic, sonic prisons, reveling in the same sort of blackness Nurse With Wound did.
For an album with several songs beyond the seven-minute mark, Rifts is surprisingly stripped down; the record focuses on long, immortal sounds. The 17-minute epic "When I Get Back From New York," for all of its grandiosity, is centered by a single gurgling chip-twinkle. Even the historically spastic interludes are fixated on an individual strain of music. It gives the album a delightfully abundant feel, conjuring an image of a Daniel Lopatin eagerly moving from concept to concept.
Rifts is not an album for everyone, nor does it try to be. It's long, caliginous, and pretty impenetrable. But with patience, it comes clear that Oneohtrix Point Never has created something worth unraveling.
Album title: Rifts (2009)
Artist: Oneohtrix Point Never
Label: No Fun
Songs: Behind the Bank, Eyeballs, Betrayed in the Octagon, Woe is the Transgression, Parallel Minds, Laser to Laser, Woe is the Transgression II, Computer Vision, Format & Journey North, Zones Without People, Learning to Control Myself, Disconnecting Eternity, Emil Cioran, Hyperdawn, Months, Physical Memories, Grief and Reputation, Russian Mind, Actual Air, Immanence, Lovegirl's Precinct, Ships Without Meaning, Terminator Lake, Transmit Memories, A Pact Between Strangers, When I Get Back From New York, I Know It's Taking Pictures From Another Plane - Inside Your Sun