Oneohtrix Point Never @ Our Lady Of Lebanon Church, Williamsburg 9/17/13
If you’ve only occasionally tuned into Daniel Lopatin’s music under the moniker Oneohtrix Point Never, the idea of him playing in a church might seem odd. For someone whose recordings, especially the massive compilation Rifts, often remind people of soundtracks for old sci-fi films, it might seem like a strange setting for his live show. But wait — even in his earliest recordings, if OPN sounded science fiction-y it was always more in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey or Tarkovsky’s Stalker — there was a soul to it. It’s that particular aspect that has grown exponentially with every new release to the point where if you give a listen to his newest album R Plus Seven, the choice of Our Lady Of Lebanon Church as the venue for this release show release show becomes glaringly obvious. Simply put, Daniel Lopatin has created some of the most spiritual music of the year, and it translates beautifully into a live show.
In our recent interview with Lopatin he mentioned how he has been working at making his live show something special, and that he wanted to evolve from past performances in which, as he put it, “I just kind of messed around in a more or less collage-like manner with stuff.” Lopatin repurposed his performance with laser-focus, often breaking the new songs into fragments, only to mix and match the pieces with one another. If you see him live on this tour and know the new album well, it’s like watching somebody smash a finished jigsaw puzzle only to put it back together as an entirely new image.
Occasionally songs sound as they are on the album, but Lopatin takes on more of a DJ role and mashes everything together, with his unpredictability being the only real constant. Quiet moments abruptly gave way to crashes of static, some of the more grandiose moments on the album (like the triumphant organ blast at the end of “Chrome Country”) showed up with a more gentle touch. And while songs like the previously released “Still Life” and “Problem Areas” came mostly intact, others such as “Boring Angel” and the aforementioned “Country” kept popping up in little pieces throughout the night. As with other recent shows, last night’s music all locked in with visual projections from Nate Boyce, who tweaked a blur of sculptures, foreign ads, and creepily smooth 3d textures. Surprisingly the new live set is probably the most beat-oriented thing you’ll hear under the OPN moniker, with tons of 4/4 backbones and skittering melodies to break up the ambient smog. There were even moments in the middle during a presumably new non-album track that approached the hypnotic techno of the Field. Often when songs ended it took a few moments before people snapped back to reality and exploded in applause. It was the most appropriate way to celebrate the release of such an emotionally powerful album — a packed crowd sitting at their pews staring up in reverence and awe.
Check out the gallery above and look for R Plus Seven on 10/1 on Warp.