Oneohtrix Point Never is one of the many pseudonyms of electronic music producer Daniel Lopatin. Garden of Delete is his 8th full length release under the Oneohtrix Point Never name. Following a series of fantastic and critically acclaimed releases on Warp Records, a label that is home to some of the most prominent and influential electronic music acts of our time such as Aphex Twin and Autechre.
Going into the album, the first thing that really struck me was how much of a departure it was from Daniel’s last two albums, R Plus Seven and Replica; on those records (and all of the other OPN material preceding it), Daniel took a very abstract and ambient approach. This record is more head on as far as the music is concerned. Replica and R Plus Seven are albums that you really had to focus on and get your head around to actually enjoy them while Garden of Delete can be enjoyed by even the most casual fans of underground electronic music. Daniel’s approach to the whole Plunderphonics genre always intrigued me due to the fact that he was capable of doing a lot more things in the music to keep it interesting enough to receive many more listens as opposed to many Plunderphonics artists just doing the same thing over and over again and still expecting people to pay money for their records.
With Garden of Delete, Daniel brings a whole range of new things to the table that he didn’t necessarily incorporate into his music before; the album makes heavy use of sampling all of these high pitched voices and it manages to work absolutely brilliantly, Daniel even makes use of midi sounds that also sound brilliant. The combination of the very high distorted and high pitch vocals along with the midi sounds and instrumentation fits in brilliantly with the mood and tone Daniel is trying to create with this new project – he’s probably the only person to make any sort of midi sounds actually sound decent as opposed to all of the artists who tried and failed with this experimentation (e.g. Liturgy).
The album’s opening track (after the Intro) ‘Ezra‘ starts off slowly with a repeating vocal sample before cutting off to what sounds like a guitar before then shifting back into the repeating sample before transitioning to a very glitchy and fast synth track with very high samples thrown about the place. The album’s intro gives listeners a small taste of what they’re about to hear as it gives away the very sporadic nature of the tracks at a very straight forward rate.
The highlight of the album comes in the form of an absolutely monolithic track called ‘Mutant Standard.’ This is probably the greatest piece of electronic music I’ve heard in a very, very long time as it is just filled with constant surprises during the track’s eight minute running time. It’s a track that starts off slowly before just building and building up until it reaches an absolutely stunning climax; I really haven’t been as surprised with a song in the whole genre at all and it was something I never knew Daniel was actually capable of making – I’d even go as far as to say that it gives Aphex Twin a run for his money.
The best thing about this album is that there never really is any dull moments on it and that you’re still able to find more and more new things to appreciate and enjoy about it after every listen. I wasn’t really a fan of the track ‘Sticky Drama‘ upon my first few listens but it ended up being a highlight for me; in fact, I didn’t really have many high expectations for this album at all when I heard the main single, ‘I Bite Through It;’ I thought it was nothing but a pretentious, glitchy mess but it has also became a massive highlight on the record for me because it fits in so much better with all of the deep cuts as opposed to a single setting,
Garden of Delete doesn’t sound anything like any other Oneohtrix Point Never release and to me, that is a very good thing because the album just kept on surprising me to the point in which I’m still left wanting more after it’s over. I would honestly go as far as to say that it is better than Replica and R Plus Seven, the OPN albums that I’m most familiar with – while I did love those records to bits, Garden of Delete just has a certain charm to it that has kept me coming back over and over again. The album is gorgeous and addicting to the point in which I haven’t been able to put it down since I first heard it; Daniel Lopatin has done it once again and I’m very excited to see what he comes off with next!