Daniel Lopatin, especially under his moniker Oneohtrix Point Never (0PN), has long departed from the world of pop music, from the idea of using music as entertainment or an invitation to move your body. Instead, he tries to move thoughts, and often does so in more classical cultural environments like art museums. His performances or installations, as I would call his “songs” at this point, are immersive and curious, but can be a bit exhausting and repetitive. So thankfully, the first track off his new album “R Plus Seven”, out on Warp on September 30th / October 1st, is more accessible than his last effort “Replica”, which received the highest praise by other critics – but mostly eluded me, I have to admit. “Problem Areas” now is another thing: Crisp and clean, casual and to the point, short and uplifting.
And as 0PN is at home in the art world these days, it is only comprehensible that he is using the visuals by another artist for the video of “Problem Areas”. The animations used are a compilation of different works of Takeshi Murata, a Chicago/NYC artist who uses perfect computer-generated images of rooms and objects to create a sense of hyperreality. Hyperreality means that the fake is so damn perfect that it feels more real than the real thing itself, challenging the distinction between reality and virtuality as such. In a way, Lopatin has always done the same with commercial sounds: Sampling, looping or mimicking them until they feel more relevant than the originals from pop culture or ad world.
Russian born Brooklyn resident Slava (Balasanov) – not to be confused with trap artist Salva – always had a knack for the weird and the challenging. He was featured on “#Seapunk Volume 1” and this year published his critically acclaimed second album “Raw Solutions”on Daniel Lopatin’s label “Software”. One of the tracks off that album has now received a video treatment by Eugene Kotlyarenko, a director that matches Slava’s weirdness. In the video, Slava’s skipping and stuttering dark beats and the manic female vocal sample accompany two siblings on their incestuous journey, giving the title a whole new meaning. The track as well as the video stutter out of control and into ecstasy and back, holding the balance between the intense and the weird. The video manages doing so without betraying its protagonists and, just like the track, has a strange allure.
The new video by German visual artist and designer Henning M. Lederer for British producer Max Cooper‘s “Numb” starts out with a pictogram of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Originally a study on human proportions, the Vitruvian Man has later on been used to symbolize harmony, symmetry and wholeness. But it seems as though mankind has become too busy, too much held perpetually motion and is too closely monitored by machines to stay that way: Still and whole. The pictogram of a man in the center of the installation is standing still for one second though, but only to be jump started again, when the complex system explodes to the sound of heavy bass and dark beats. Everything is hardwired, connected and on the move, but without ever going somewhere. “Man” could be seen as to have external forces pushing him to pointless movement, but as is shown by the end of the video – he already has internalized all of it.
The video is an extension of Lederer’s work “Machinatorium” from 2009, and Max Cooper said it is themed as “numbed by the capitalist machine”. Watch below, and full screen equals full effect, of course.