Daniel Lopatin’s stage name, Oneohtrix Point Never, is based on a mishearing of the name of an adult-contemporary radio station from the Boston area, Magic 106.7, and this album, “Magic Oneohtrix Point Never”, pays tribute to radio and vintage music while simultaneously being a boundary-pushing, immaculately produced avant-garde interpretation of ambient and progressive electronic. As the album opens with the first of 4 “Cross Talk” interludes, a wonderfully chopped and sampled introduction greets you, with the sound of a sentient retro device being turned on and telling the listener to “wake up”. The “Cross Talks” are placed between every 2 and 4 tracks, and they string together a radio-centric narrative, sampling the heavily manipulated voices of radiocasters and the sounds of radio broadcasts to pay homage to the golden age of FM. Between these interludes are some of Lopatin’s most engaging and mind-bendingly complex tracks, coming together to form a musical journey that could only have been made by him. “Long Road Home” features guest vocals from Caroline Polachek, one of the most interesting up-and-coming pop artists right now, and the track is calming, catchy, and groovy all at once. The cut “I Don’t Love Me Anymore” features the classic Lopatin vocal manipulation over melancholy lyrics, and “The Whether Channel”, while mostly unremarkable, has a great beat and outro verse from NOLANBEROLLIN. One of the biggest highlights of this record, though, is “No Nightmares” featuring The Weeknd. The track is incredibly catchy and dreamy, and is potentially my favorite song off of this project. Although the second half is less heavy on sung vocals and guest vocalists, Lopatin continues to shine with his stunning production, incorporating ambient, psychedelia, and even a bit of noise into tracks like “Tales From The Trash Stratum” and “Imago”, and although the last half is slightly weaker and marginally more forgettable than the first, in my opinion, it’s still exceptional. In summary, Magic Oneohtrix Point Never is one of the most cohesive, well-produced, unique, and memorable albums I’ve heard in a long while, and it is easily one of the best projects of the year. Highly recommend a listen if you’ve liked any of Lopatin’s work and even if you’re not too familiar. I knew it was gonna be good, but I didn’t know it was gonna be this good.
Standout- Long Road Home, I Don’t Love Me Anymore, No Nightmares, Lost But Never Alone
Best tracks- Auto & Allo, The Whether Channel, Answering Machine, Imago
Worst track- None (the tracks I don't like as much just aren’t memorable by themselves, they’re not bad by any definition)