I am not completely sure of what Oneohtrix Point Never’s latest release, Garden of Delete, makes me feel. Like with James Ferraro, there is a lot of anger buried deep within, but the immense number of layers stacked on top of that anger, make it less recognizable. It doesn’t lose its intensity, but it morphs into weird shapes, unknown patterns and unique colors. The sharp turns and quick changes are meant to confuse, the tracks seemingly having been composed as one of the most bizarre trips down the internet’s hellholes. New age, passionate guitar and bass phrases meet heavy synthesized metal, mangled pop vocals meet kitschy synth swells and spooky ambiental sections turn into vaporwave drama in the blink of an eye. The eclecticism Lopatin employs not only manages to create confusion, but also seems to lift you above the original brutality laying at the heart of the pieces, into a sort of post-attention-span enlightenment.
The opening Intro kicks the album off by scaring you into shape, leaving all doors open for development. What would follow could be anything from buzzing chainsaws to wildlife sex scenes or a found footage horror movie soundtrack. Ezra manages to pull itself together melodically (at least from time to time) bu it still is made up of mostly holes, the contours surrounding the fragments Lopatin uses for his collages. It seems to try to start again every few bars, but doesn’t manage to keep going for more than a short phrase. Sticky Drama plays out in kitschy synth stabs, with a very pop vocal line which instead of pauses between phrases has bursts of white noise, and then it breaks down into a bridge which would make Trent Reznor proud. The steady mix between some sort of EDM infused R’n’B and industrial metal sections really makes Garden of Delete something special. Most songs seem to have been some sort of parody at one point, but they are so violent that they lose any humorous overtones. Child of Rage makes excellent use of the new-age-y, plastic guitar and bass sounds, which also seem to go beyond being self-referential “bad” sounds and Mutant Standard constantly turns itself inside out, leaving you with nothing to hold on to despite its constant gyrating bassline. Even though the album makes use of electronic dance stereotypes, don’t expect to feel the urge to dance to it, unless you can contort yourself into really weird shapes.
Garden of Delete is nothing for the faint of heart. It switches between complete static noise and blistering ultraspeed riffs when you least expect it, tension build up and release is anything but linear or predictable and every possible anchor point is annulled time and time again, and while deeply unstable, it makes for a new experience with each listen.
Do not focus, you are beyond that.