In comparison with the darkly mesmerizing dread of data previous, right here Lopatin virtually kicks off his sneakers and settles in for a comfortable evening on the sofa, flipping channels by one distorted show after one other. And not using a clear framework tying all of it collectively, Lopatin’s logic itself turns into the album’s defining high quality. Early spotlight “Krumville” seamlessly blossoms from a peaceable guitar loop into static string plucks, and earlier than lengthy Lopatin is main a strummed slowcore singalong with Xiu Xiu sighing wistfully at his aspect. Lopatin always searches for tactics to construct his mangled items up as grandiosely as attainable (he has cited a Charge Your Music listing known as “Crescendocore” as an affect on the album, channeling his interior Godspeed on a bite-sized scale). “Nightmare Paint” goes by a number of disparate actions within the span of 4 minutes, phasing between mutant piano grooves, math-rock finger tapping, a proggy synth climax, and a manically accelerating coda. As dissonant as it may all get, Lopatin nonetheless finds enjoyable methods to attach disparate shapes collectively with out the entire thing collapsing.
Regardless of Lopatin’s sheer technical prowess (“Reminiscences of Music” strikes a very candy spot with its barrage of squiggling keyboard solos and shimmering Cisco hold-music synths), it’s tough to shake the pervasive sense of randomness writhing by Once more. The concept actually something might occur on this music has the perverse impact of creating Lopatin’s world really feel smaller, in the identical approach that the limitless capabilities of CGI might be much less evocative than inventive, sensible results deployed with goal. When he makes use of AI applications like Riffusion and Jukebox to conjure up melismatic vocal jitters on “The Physique Path” and “On an Axis,” there’s nothing profound within the nondescript mush. Because the album’s practically hour-long runtime drags on, songs like “Locrian Midwest,” “Grey Subviolet,” and the title observe meander with a shrug. It’s exploratory music that always doesn’t really appear to be going wherever.
OPN albums used to evoke a world ensnared in an infinite cycle of remembering itself. All through Once more, Lopatin makes an attempt to recreate a few of these moments from earlier in his discography, however with out their melodic poignancy or textural attract, these flashbacks sound much less like hypnotic recursions by time and extra like recordsdata merely being dragged from one folder to a different. Even on the supposedly dramatic finale of “A Barely Lit Path,” it’s laborious to get swept up within the observe’s swirling laser-beam church organs after they finally scan as a retread of R Plus Seven’s “Boring Angel.” Lopatin shouldn’t must reinvent himself with each album (even when he’s confirmed shockingly adept at doing so), however it’s starting to really feel like he cares much less about making sense of his personal amorphous recollections than simply lumping all of them right into a pile collectively. Listening to Once more, it’s unclear what else Lopatin has to impart concerning the nature of nostalgia, aside from, sure, it’s a lure in any case.
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