I recently stumbled over an online debate about whether Oneohtrix Point Never is this generation’s Brian Eno. I’ll admit I scoffed at first; but the more I think about this chat, the more I find myself agreeing with it. In the last 20 years, few other artists can boast a body of work as influential as Daniel Lopatin. His gravity is similar to Prince, James Murphy and Dr Dre, able to warp the underground and mainstream simultaneously.
Again continues the trajectory of blurring the lines between melodic pop and ambient electronica set by 2020’s Magic. However, while still making a record that is as dense and unstructured as ever, Lopatin has managed to twist in ever more maximal and sweeping directions. It might be his work with The Weeknd and on major film scores bleeding into his day job, but parts of this record tug the heartstrings like a soundtrack of an old-time weepy. Tracks like ‘Locrian Midwest’ and ‘Memories of Music’ shimmer with gorgeous string lines, delivering the kind of emotional punch that an ambient record usually has no right to claim.
You could criticise Again for the way it presents an excess of ideas that challenge its coherence as a seamless listening experience; its shifts in tone render it slightly more challenging to digest than Oneohtrix’s more classic albums. Nevertheless, it stands as an admirably robust addition to a back catalogue with few equals.
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