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On the limitlessly pleasing "Magic Oneohtrix Point Never", Daniel Lopatin twists left on his own internal radio dial and channel-hops through highlights of his career to date: from synth drift to scrambled sound collages to a kind of yearning adult contemporary that no-one else can pull off.

If there’s one aspect that unifies this stylistically varied and guest-speckled album, it’s the ongoing tour through Lopatin lore. The clue is right there in the title for starters.

Oneohtrix Point Never’s rise to the top of contemporary electronic music has made what is a fairly quirky artist moniker seem comfortably lived-in (so much so that Lopatin’s Korn-riffing bootleg 0PN merch didn’t make anyone blink). The genesis of his name got a tad lost along the way. It comes from Boston’s long-running AOR station Magic 106.7, which the young Lopatin would tune into while growing up in the city’s suburbs. Now say the station name out loud to yourself. There you have the skeleton key to unlock the album’s internal logic.

That’s far from the only subtle reinforcement found on "Magic Oneohtrix Point Never". Over the past five years, it seems as if each new studio album from Lopatin is a reaction to what came before it. The static-shocked shredding found on 2015’s "Garden Of Delete" was a rebellion against the placid nostalgia of his beloved R series – "Rifts", "Returnal", "Replica" and "R Plus Seven". 2018’s "Age Of" replaced the ring-modulated guitars with baroque instrumentation and ultra-smooth surfaces.

By contrast, "Magic..." feels like an attempt to corral all 0PN modes of old. Through the conceit of suites and flicking through FM waves, Lopatin updates his own sound world in canny ways. The mall-punk-on-downers of 'I Don’t Love Me Anymore' finds "Garden of Delete"'s pugnacious teen maturing into a languorous adolescent. For several minutes, 'The Whether Channel' throws back to the R Series’ drifting dopamine clouds, before sliding into a lilting rap from NOLANBEROLLIN about blue skies and zooming past dissenters (presumably while locked into Magic 106.7). The gigantic gated drums on ‘Lost But Never Alone’ are pure Lopatin & Ford.

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The big change on "Magic…" comes in the form of special guests. A string of high-profile scores for the films "Good Time" and "Uncut Gems" has afforded Lopatin the ability to switch on Hollywood lights when he pleases. Though initially de-emphasised in the run-up to release so as not to overpower the concept, Caroline Polachek and Abel Tesfaye are instantly recognizable on the yearning anthems 'Long Road Home' and 'No Nightmares'. The latter is an especial showstopper – full-on, no-concessions, lighters-up arena energy.

Once you’re under the spell of "Magic Oneohtrix Point Never", these tonal shifts feel oddly becalming: a stream of half-heard gibberish, mulched beats and skyscraping ballads from yesteryear, all floating past like filaments in your peripheral. On his ninth studio LP we find Daniel Lopatin comfortable, happy to burnish his own legacy – a moment of consolidation rather than another leap forward; one of this century’s premier electronic musicians stopping to smell the roses, as a friendly radio flickers gently in the background somewhere.

More Top Albums of the Year 2020

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  • Artist
    Various Artists
    ReleaseProduct
    Top 10 Albums Of The Year 2020 Bundle
    Label
    Bleep
    Catalogue Number
    TOP102020
    Release Date
    November 30, 2020
    • Bundle:

      Pre-order $260.00
      • Arca KiCk i Vinyl, 1×LP, Limited Edition Pink Vinyl

      • Oneohtrix Point Never Magic Oneohtrix Point Never Vinyl, 2×LP, Limited Coloured Transparent orange vinyl

      • Eartheater Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin Vinyl, 1×LP Black vinyl

      • K-LONE Cape Cira Vinyl, 1×LP Black vinyl

      • Lyra Pramuk Fountain Vinyl, 1×LP, Limited Coloured

      • Speaker Music Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry Vinyl, 2×LP

      • Speaker Music Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry (Booklet) Book 60 Page Booklet

      • Duval Timothy Help Vinyl, 2×LP, Limited Coloured Milky clear vinyl

      • Actress Karma & Desire Vinyl, 2×LP, Limited Coloured Crystal Fuchsia 140g vinyl

      • Actress Bucket Hat Limited Print Print

      • Cabaret Voltaire Shadow of Fear Vinyl, 2×LP, Limited Coloured White vinyl

      • Tara Clerkin Trio Tara Clerkin Trio Vinyl, 1×LP Includes locked groove on B side

      • Arca Art print from illustrator David Rappeneau Promo. item

      • Please note this is for the
      • Cape Cira Black Vinyl edition
      • Help White Vinyl edition
      • Phoenix: Flames... Black Vinyl edition
      • Bleep x Peter Judson Black Tote Bag

      Available: March 19, 2021

    As we approach the end of 2020 we take a look back at some of our favourite music from this year. Luckily during these turbulent times some exceptional music has been made. Providing us a sonic place to escape, a place to reflect, or a place to dance.

    Always on the search for the perfect meeting between pop and experimentalism, we found it this year in KiCk I, made by one of the most compelling and innovative artist on our planet right now, Arca. Other records that found this perfect balance was the artful and beautiful avant-garde songs from Eartheater, and the profound beauty of Lyra Pramuk’s Fountain.

    Two of this century’s premier electronic musicians, Oneohtrix Point Never and Actress, created records that were both uniquely their own while inviting other artists into their sonic universe. Meanwhile, pioneering musician Richard H. Kirk came out of the shadows, with the first Cabaret Voltaire album since 1994.

    The aftershocks of the london Jazz earthquake could still be felt in the collection of musical sketches and abstract songcraft of Duval Timothy’s Help, and in the eccentric bric-a-brac of Bristol’s Tara Clerkin Trio.

    Two records of this year that could not be further apart were by K-Lone and Speaker Music. Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry was a sonic response to the past and present events unfolding, creating a record which whilst difficult to listen to, was a crucial audio document of its time. Cape Cira on the other hand, created an oasis for us to seek refuge in, and forget what was happening around the globe.

    For some, music can be a way to escape our reality and to turn on, tune in and drop out, but for others, it is a medium to provoke, educate, and turn up. Whatever you need from your listening experience, we hope that you can find something in these ten albums to fill you up.

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