Over the past couple of years Daniel Lopatin, the 29-year-old who records as Oneohtrix Point Never, has floated to the top of an expanding underground-hypnagogic pop movement, creating gauzy soundtracks to only the most serene of dreams. His tranquil sounds nuzzle comfortably in a warm spot between New Age calm and ambient experimentalism, recalling Brian Eno at his most peaceful or electronic music with no concern for dance floors. Those traits remain on “Replica,” but there’s something different about this album. And although knowing the back story isn’t essential to being soothed by the transportive songs within, it makes the experience richer.
These 10 songs are all based on samples Lopatin collected from 1980s TV ads. His goal was to take this seemingly mundane ephemera from what he calls an “era when electronic was having this populist renaissance,” add his usual spooky sonic manipulations and create something new. Artists have regularly found inspiration from advertising ever since Andy Warhol put a Campbell’s soup can on a canvas, but with Lopatin it’s more than simple excavation. He’s interested in sound, not cultural statement.
So knowing that the lip smacks and exhaling “aahhs” in “Sleep Dealer,” which add a conversational rhythm to the song, are lifted from a decades-old soda commercial is cool, but it sounds plenty trippy without the benefit of that information.
“Replica” is a high-concept album, but it also has appeal based on the simplest of concepts — making entrancing music that’s easy to get lost in. Most songs forge ahead with one idea — the spacey, tribal pitter-patter of “Up,” the glacial “Om” meditation of “Remember,” the glitchy hiccups of “Nassau” — but each also showcases Lopatin’s knack for adding the right texture to make each uniquely hypnotic. And you get the feeling he could repeat this ad infinitum, no matter the source material.
“Sleep Dealer,” “Up,” “Nassau”