CMJ Day Two: Oneohtrix Point Never Slows Things Down


CMJ Day Two: Oneohtrix Point Never, Deradoorian

Better than: Standing outside in the rain with those turned away.

Catching a quick intra-Williasmburg cab from Bedford and North 7th down to 285 Kent, I made the usual small talk with the driver, asking how the now pouring rain would affect business. The answer, essentially, was that the weather helped when suckers like me forgot their umbrellas and has somewhere to be, hurt because less people wanted to go anywhere. I should have told him to stick to the rock clubs: Even at nine o’clock the sidewalk outside my destination and the neighboring Glasslands Gallery had turned into something of a cab depot, those looking to hop over to a new venue intermingled with those trying to get a few puffs out of their cigarettes before the rain extinguished them.

Inside (where smokers only had to duck the occasional organizer), this bunch was missing a solo set from the Dirty Projectors’ Angel Deradoorian, who stood on top of the 285 Kent stage slowly pulling songs out of what I’m guessing was some sort of synth. It also could have been a guitar, run through a reverb pedal or three—standing in the back of the surprisingly large venue, the music had to cross 50 or so conversations before it reached my ears, and only her head appeared above the legion of tall, bearded white men who blocked my view of the stage (and with whom I almost fit in).

Accordingly, I worked my way up closer to the front for Oneohtrix Point Never, but when he (government name: Daniel Lopatin) decided to play his set sitting down, I was again left without a view. Lopatin definitely pulled his songs out of some sort of synth, but it was questionable whether his seamless drone patterns could be called songs at all. Results aside, I can’t help but salute Lopatin for this noble if not doomed attempt to avoid CMJ’s inexhaustible hype cycles and make his performance be about the music rather than furthering the Oneohtrix Point Never brand.

Focusing on the music had a mesmerizing effect; the swirl of sounds made the lights spinning around the stage appear not as traces of an ironically placed disco ball but as some sort of analog representation of digital bliss, data streams reduced to light bouncing off glass. But most of the time (and, I’m sure, for most of the crowd), it was hard to remain focused, kind of like when you spend an hour or two clicking through tweets and Facebook profiles, then try to sit down and read a book—your mind needs a quick stimulus. And so you wait til the end of the performance, leave the venue, and get back in line for that cab, chasing shows deeper and deeper into the night.

Critical bias: Likes listening to music.

Random notebook dump: Speaking of quick stimulus, the indie video games at 285 Kent looked really cool.

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