It isn’t a waste of time learning about avant garde music. In fact, finding out exactly why someone would choose to make an album by sampling ants chewing on a drumstick and wiring up a moss-covered food processor to a wah wah pedal before calling the magnum opus ‘Pig Crevasse #7.8’ and releasing only 10 copies on Betamax video cassette – over, say, learning four guitar chords and calling your band The Toasters – can be quite mind-expanding. But your first lesson should always be this: if you can’t dance, drink, drug or fuck to the avant garde then it probably isn’t worth bothering with.
Luckily, ‘Replica’, the fifth album proper by electronic music producer Daniel Lopatin under his [a]Oneohtrix Point Never[/a] tag meets three of these requirements with ease (you’d have more luck dancing to a beached whale than this). He is part of the Brooklyn scene along with other such cosmic vision things as Emeralds and Stellar Om Source and, following on from a confusing but rewarding double-disc anthology, ‘Rifts’, in 2009 and the sublime space scapes of ‘Returnal’ in 2010, ‘Replica’ is a rallying call for people who don’t see synthesisers purely as objects of retro-fetishism, but rather as agents of future creative potential. He creates woozy riffs and psychedelic drones on his father’s old Roland Juno-60 before warping and moulding the sound using analogue filtering, tape manipulation, plate reverb and other antique techniques. He has talked up the presence of many samples from old adverts (thus giving those who want or need it the excuse to label the record ‘hauntology’) but other than on ‘Sleep Dealer’ and ‘Up’, you would be hard pressed to spot them. The theory side of what he does is interesting, but above and beyond that he continues to herald the next stage of analogue future psychedelia beyond Boards Of Canada’s ‘Music Has The Right To Children’, which is more than enough to be getting on with.