Oneohtrix Point Never
The Studio At Webster Hall
Tuesday, March 6
Better than: Being in an actual coma, I suppose.
There were only twenty or so people left standing in Webster Hall’s basement at the end Oneohtrix Point Never’s performance last night. The majority of the audience had slowly trickled out not too long into Daniel Lopatin’s computerized solo set for Red Bull Music Academy, which came on the heels of a brief lecture. It wasn’t exactly his fault; the producer’s sprawling, noise-laden cinematics aren’t really made for group consumption.
If there’s anything that translated from the musician’s most recent release, Replica, to his live stage-show, it’s that Lopatin is a master of composition. His style follows a pattern that’s found in classical music; the builds are slow and careful, layering plodding kick-drums over Tangerine Dream-era synths that are stretched to a point where they seem to pulsate on their own. Melodies are pretty and uncomplicated (as is the case with his ’80s-revivalist pop duo Ford & Lopatin) and often seem to come as an afterthought. During the choppy instrumentals of “Sleep Dealer,” the knob-twiddler introduced background static before cuing a choir of voices to add to a building crescendo. But then, right as soon as the pattern evoked some foot-tapping, he stopped.
This sort of thing—a red-light/green-light of quietly swirling melodies laid over subterranean murmurs of bass—went on for a while. The gorgeously haunting piano lullaby “Replica” was a highlight, if only for the way its circular static created a cocoon before it abruptly sputtered out a twenty-second shower of bass and died. That’s where the show’s frustrationcame from, really. At the end of each false-end, the audience were forced to bring itself back to the present, a grimy club basement where people awkwardly stood in a line of wallflowers and where the voices of the people talking were louder than the music that was playing.
Critical bias: Have previously described Replica as “headphone music.”
Overheard: “Is this all that he does?” “Have you listened to his music before?”
Random notebook dump: The guy sitting on the floor for the duration of the show had the right idea.