Record Label: Editions Mego
Returnal is the fourth album from Daniel Lopatin's Oneohtrix Point Never project, after Betrayed In The Octagon (Deception Island, 2007), Zones Without People (Arbor, 2009) and Russian Mind (No Fun, 2009). All 3 albums being superbly compiled on the Rifts double CD set (No Fun, 2009). It sees Lopatin fine-tune his craft for the creation of deep atmospheres and textures even further. Starting off with the mind-blowing triptych of "Nil Admiari"/"Describing Bodies"/"Stress Waves," which fires off into a noise/rhythm excess before entering a zone of relative calm, building to the melancholy of the final part.
This sets the tone perfectly for the album's title track, a stunning, out-of-this-world ballad featuring Lopatin's near-desperate vocal delivery, ending what could be seen as one of his most chilling and thought-provoking sides to-date. The atmosphere is slightly lifted as the darkened sun comes up over the ruins on "Pelham Island Road" and "Where Does Time Go," with the album closing with edgy broken beats and the fourth-world possible landscapes of "Preyouandi," which fades into the distance with echoes of the "Returnal" chorus closing the loop.
What's burnt into memory here is Lopatin's love affair with the long, slow path back home... the cycle... the hypnotic sector... the ghost in the machine... and whether people are making dance music or hip-hop or space head-music or metal, the ouroboros is present in every sector -- as it was in Bach's study, and in the elephant songs of the Ituri forests.
Instrumentation: Akai AX-60, Roland Juno-60, Roland MSQ-700, Korg Electribe ES-1, Voice. Recorded using a personal computer. Mastered by James Plotkin. Tape-op & additional engineering by Al Carlson. Awesome spot-varnished cover design by Stephen O'Malley.