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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Sound of the Digital Age refined, 7. November 2013
Rezension bezieht sich auf: R Plus Seven (Audio CD)
One of the first outings of the newest brainchild of Daniel Lopatin, recording under the moniker Oneothrix Point Never, was the video for “Problem Areas” featuring artist Takeshi Murata and his digital installations. You can see a silver, terminator-ish skull surrounded by oranges, eggs and a book titled `Art and The Future' or another installation with a miniature ship sitting in a plastic bottle; all set to the sonic ideas of Lopatin.

Out of many writings about the artwork and installations of Murata, the best term to describe his work and to put it into context with R Plus Seven must be something close to `digital vanitas images'. Just like the art movement in baroque times, artists would take various objects and put them in context of worldly existence, death, decay and eternity. While formerly this would include burning candles, wilting flowers, humans skulls and even instruments paired together on canvases, Murata brought this idea into the digital realm of the new centuries: Now even the images are eternalized digital code and the objects carrying the symbolic value of vanity have turned into modulated figurines like a broken IPhone, metallic bananas or music instruments made out of gum. Also the titles have changed from being as meaningful as `L'Allegoria della vita umana' (Allegory of Human Life) to quoting something irrelevant like `Get Your Ass To The Moon' (apparently from `Total Recall'). In all of this, may it be a notion of vanitas or anti-vanitas of the digital age, the music of Lopatin seems almost symbiotically intertwined.

R Plus Seven with its deceptively short 43 minutes reads like the schizophrenic cadre of everything Internet, everything that seems to shout out it's artificiality to the point of either discarding it as thrash or of contemplating the higher sense laying beneath. And yet, when one starts the machines of R Plus Seven with “Boring Angels”, what hits resembles the warmth of an church organ so closely that everything said before is thrown into perspective of the artificial imitating the natural so closely, the original might never be needed again. When the synths and the cartoonish sounds hit linear comprehension will black out until the circular repetition of the churchly organs. It somehow feels like Lopatin is messing with the most revered of musical traditions, pushing his mark of synth ridden space thump into the mix to elevate the boredom of those with short attention spans. This multi-layered and multi-sequenced conduct carries through the whole of R Plus Seven like an motif in itself. For example following track “Americans” starts off as a stroll through jungle wonderland with playful and beautiful sounds and strings blending together, ascending into a spacey crashing of noise and little gremlins giggling only to change to ethereal voices which yet again circularly segue into jungle wonderland again. One the first listen I personally thought I went through three different tracks only to look at the player to see that Lopatin managed to pull this off in five short minutes.

As some, especially with the shorter tracks like “He She” or “Cryo”, might feel like the changes occur to rapidly and some portions might have deserved to be fleshed out even more or be longer in general, the pacing adds to the experience of the vast digital empire we dwell in and the seamless blending – even when interrupted with starts and stop like a loading circle popping up – never gives room to tedium or to be entirely sure of what is occurring right now. This may, as with his previous work Replica, lead to a dismissing of this record as senseless mish-mash but this arguably just means that one should listen over and over again to get a sense of direction and destination. And I can say, maybe thirty listens in, this record never fails to captivate the attentive or even distracted listener.

Microcosmic tracks like “Problem Areas” slow down to a fusion of nocturnal sounds and voices just to jump into tattered EDM piece “Zebra” with its fast paced beat and crystal like tones in return evolving into ambient glitches laced with brass cadences. While “Problem Areas” might be the most concise track to the whole concept of the album, second to last track “Still Life” is the most awe-inspiring of them all. Not only for its especially mysterious opening, desolate midsection and factory-rave like crescendo, but for its visual accompaniment: The video for “Still Life” subtitled `Betamale' is a collage of seedy computer `desks', graphic hentai and fetish imagery and appears to be a horrific glimpse into the depths in and around the Internet. Additional there is a narrating voice of a woman putting the images into context with the loss of imagination and the possible deceptive look `into the screen for a glimpse of eternity'.

Overall the body of work presented in R Plus Seven often gives you the experience of surfing the Internet – having opened multiple tabs, in the matter of seconds switching from reading an news report of a tragic incident, to watching your favorite cartoons moments on YouTube or texting with someone you could easily meet face to face via your social wormhole of choice. Referring back to Muratas work, Daniel Lopatin has crafted what seems to be the aural equivalent of the digital world we live in (with Replica maybe being the fictional Television preface of what was to come here). The idea of vanity, be it the decay of our communication, creative power or the way we are transfixed with every little piece of information known to men, seems to be present at all times. Only two things remain: The strikingly beautiful expression this record still poses with it's angelic qualities and the recipient himself trying to figure out what is to be made of it. As put in “Still Life (Betamale)” we are still able to see every detail of this world we experience, but can't seem to grasp the meaning of it.

This record might be one of the best examples of visuals marrying the pure aural experiences to something greater and delving into R Plus Seven can be as mind boggling as it is rewarding.

10 / 10
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