by Oneohtrix Point Never


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A compilation gathered from Daniel Lopatin's first three Oneohtrix Point Never albums (2007's Betrayed in the Octagon and 2009's Zones Without People and Russian Mind), Rifts presents a triptych that defined his distinctive approach to drone-based electronic music. As sprawling as this two-and-a-half-hour collection is, it's also one of the purest examples of Oneohtrix Point Never's aesthetic, full of drones that feel either weightless or massive, punctuated by synth arpeggios and the occasional found sound or tweaked vocal. Lopatin has built quite a world with these three albums, one inspired by the soulful, searching side of science fiction -- many of the song titles here feel like they could be the names of forgotten classics of '70s and '80s sci-fi films and literature -- as well as forebears ranging from Tangerine Dream to Boards of Canada. The mix of nostalgic tones and unsettling moods often suggests a more expansive, ambient-leaning version of that duo's darkest album, Geogaddi (and has a similar way of letting its shadowy sounds sneak in and mess with listeners' emotions on an almost subliminal level). However, Rifts' tracks have even more range, spanning the cavernous darkness of "Woe Is the Transgression II," which alternates between feral whoops and passages of shimmering drones layered upon each other like whale calls; suffocating synth workouts like "Transmat Memories," and fleeting moments of beauty like "Months," that adds poignancy to its vastness. Rifts also has a remarkable balance to it; for every epic like "When I Get Back from New York," which builds from blippy arpeggios into more moody and abrasive terrain over the course of 16 minutes, a shorter track like "Laser to Laser" distills OPN's sound into something not exactly pop, but certainly a lot more immediate. Similarly, Lopatin manages to run the emotional gamut with "Grief and Repetion," a funereal melody engulfed in a fog of drones, and "Hyperdawn," which is the track that would play as the credits rolled if Rifts was the score to a sci-fi film with a happy ending. Fittingly, the title tracks of the albums this collection was drawn from are among the defining moments, showcasing Lopatin at his most retro and most striking: "Zones Without People" has an almost sinister feel to its clinical serenity, while "Russian Mind"'s dense arpeggios are more than a little paranoid in their intensity and "Betrayed in the Octagon" evokes Blade Runner not just in its pulsing synths but its hazy, half-remembered melancholy. Unabashedly ambitious yet nuanced, Rifts is equally compelling listening whether taken in small chunks or in its entire, massive sweep. [Rifts was reissued in 2012 by Lopatin's own Software label (which he co-owned with his Ford & Lopatin collaborator, Joel Ford) on CD and vinyl, and included tracks from cassettes released by Catholic Tapes and No Fun. The track sequencing on the reissue is also slightly different, making for a subtly but notably different listening experience when compared to the original.]

Product Details

Release Date: 11/19/2012
Label: Software
UPC: 0184923202021
catalogNumber: 320202
Rank: 40541

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