Oneohtrix Point Never // City Recital Hall review by Another Angle

The City Recital Hall in Angel Place, Sydney, under the guidance of Michael McCaskill and his team, is fast becoming the premier venue to experience a wide range of live music, ranging from hip hop to classical, contemporary electronic sounds, and more. Last Friday, the 14th of July, was no exception, with a performance by Massachusetts musician Daniel Lopatin, better known as Oneohtrix Point Never.

Presenting a new solo live show titled “Rebuilds” and utilizing the City Recital Hall’s mind-blowing 360-degree sound setup, Lopatin repurposed around a dozen tracks taken from 9 different releases in his extensive catalog.

Accompanied by live visuals created by long-time collaborator Nate Boyce, who developed a new real-time animation system that updates the graphical themes dating back to their earliest collaborations from over a decade ago, Lopatin assembled sheets, washes, and waves of ethereal sound, coupled with crunching gut-punch bass tones and jackhammer beats that left audience members visibly altered. I found myself involuntarily smiling at times due to the sheer audacity of his shifts in mood and tone, always arriving at timestamps you least expected.

This show was a pure sensory hallucination minus any self-induced chemical additives. The aforementioned ever-evolving visual aspect created by Nate Boyce, coupled with the mind-blowing 360-degree spatial sound and the incredible lighting rig, largely supplied by the City Recital Hall, ensured that not one moment was wasted and it enveloped you from the first note of sound to the last.

Opening with “Where Does Time Go” from the 2010 Editions Mego release “Returnal,” Lopatin’s collage of samples taken from YouTube and television, coupled with his live synth instrumentation, set us off on a journey that took the crowd through warm fields of tall grass one moment, then glacial sheets of ice the next.

His use of retro source material sometimes gives the sound a nostalgic haze akin to the methods Boards of Canada are famous for. Lopatin sometimes takes those lo-fi samples and couples them with the shine of the human voice, as he has often done through his work with singers such as Liz Fraser, ANOHNI, Rosalia, and more. The voices he samples and uses are often buried deep in the mix and, at times, would suddenly materialize behind your right shoulder for a split second before moving to the front of the venue, thanks to the brilliant sound design.

The audience response throughout was nothing short of wild appreciation, and Lopatin was visibly humbled and happy when the cheers from the crowd filled the room. He wished his visual collaborator Nate a happy birthday, gleefully announced he had sat on the red couch to program Rage, played 2 more pieces as an encore, and left us all richer and enraptured for having experienced a superb evening of sound.

Tuesday 18th of July, 2023

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