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Age Of is the eighth studio album by American electronic producer Oneohtrix Point Never, released on June 1, 2018 on Warp Records. Recorded over two years, it features contributions from James Blake (who additionally produced and mixed the album), Anohni, Prurient, Kelsey Lu and Eli Keszler.

Age Of
Oneohtrix Point Never Age Of.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 1, 2018
Recorded2016–2018
Genre
Length42:32
LabelWarp
Producer
Oneohtrix Point Never chronology
Good Time
(2017)
Age Of
(2018)
Singles from Age Of
  1. "Black Snow"
    Released: April 26, 2018
  2. "We'll Take It"
    Released: July 20, 2018
  3. "The Station"
    Released: July 27, 2018

It is the first Oneohtrix Point Never album to prominently feature Lopatin's own vocals. The artwork, which employs Jim Shaw's "The Great Whatsit" as a central image, was designed by David Rudnick.[2] The album has been accompanied by the conceptual "concertscape" MYRIAD, which premiered in May 2018 at the Park Avenue Armory. While not entering the official United States Billboard 200 chart, it peaked at number 59 on the magazine's Top Current Albums chart.

Contents

ProductionEdit

Lopatin produced Age Of in parts of a two-year period, during which he was also producing for other artists, including Anohni, FKA Twigs, Iggy Pop, and David Byrne.[3] After composing the soundtrack for the Safdie Brothers' 2017 film Good Time,[4] Lopatin moved to an Airbnb lodge in South Central Massachusetts, derived from his aspiration to live out the modern cliche of musicians moving to the woods to record albums; the eerie atmosphere in the lodge at nighttime influenced his desire to make "weird, little nightmare ballads".[4]

In addition to Lopatin's own singing, the album also features vocal performances from Anohni and Prurient, while instrumentalists Kelsey Lu and Eli Keszler contribute to several tracks. When the record was nearly finished, Lopatin reached out to musician James Blake to contribute to the mixing process, eventually traveling to Los Angeles to complete the album.[3]

The track "The Station" was originally composed as a demo for R&B singer Usher which was ultimately not used.[2] On July 9th, 2018, Lopatin released the original topline (vocal melody) demo for The Station through Sendspace.[5] The track "Toys 2" was composed by Lopatin for his agent as "my proof of concept for how I would score a Pixar film", and musically serves as an imaginary sequel to the 1992 film Toys.[4]

Concept and MYRIADEdit

Influences on Age Of included the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which inspired the album's accompanying performance installation MYRIAD, and William Strauss's The Fourth Turning, a favorite book of former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, which Lopatin described as "insidious, like the voice of a computer insisting on the truth about history without any sensitivity given to how complex and non-linear systems might be";[2] Lopatin was subsequently inspired to "[use] that sort of taxonomy as a kind of farce to then create these little frameworks for understanding".[2] Other inspirations included the writings of the 1990s multidisciplinary collective Cybernetic Culture Research Unit and the works of singer-songwriters such as Bruce Cockburn, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon.[3]

Around the time Lopatin began finalizing Age Of in his Airbnb lodge, he began working on the concept for MYRIAD, a conceptual concert performance which premiered at Park Avenue Armory.[3] He described the concept as a four-part "epochal song cycle" showcasing the idiocy of previous generations of living organisms.[3] The loose story concerns a group of artificial intelligences near the end of time named a 'Limitless Living Informational Intelligence' (represented in the MYRIAD logo as nine squares) which attempt to replicate the imperfect cultures and behaviors of the previously-existent human species. It does this by determining an "average" of human experiences through the species' "recorded output", and does so through heuristic techniques.[3] The show is consequently divided into four sections, each representing an epoch of the cycle concept loosely inspired by the Strauss–Howe generational theory: the Age of Ecco, the Age of Harvest, the Age of Excess, and the Age of Bondage.[6] Ecco is "a phase of pre-evolutionary ignorance", Harvest is "living in agrarian harmony with the world", Excess is "the age of unchecked industrial ambition", and Bondage is "an era of engorgement, wherein “we keep making more and more shit until there’s no space left.”"[7]

MYRIAD was, in itself, a theatrical companion to Age Of. It featured "three-hundred pound sculptures that hang from the ceiling like kebabs that secrete ooze," and a full ensemble that toured to perform songs from Age Of, including Eli Keszler, Kelly Moran and Aaron David Ross.[4] The sculptures, as well as the visuals displayed on five polygon panels, were created by frequent Oneohtrix Point Never collaborator Nate Boyce.[6] Initially, Lopatin planned for each of the album's four epoches to be represented by fragrances, the more noisy epochs being pleasant to the nose to make a "weird dissonance".[6] However, due to lack of time and resources, that part of the plan was scrapped.[6]

CompositionEdit

Whereas previous Oneohtrix Point Never albums followed musical styles from only distinctive eras, Age Of is the first album by Lopatin to incorporate elements of unique genres from a variety of periods, hence the "incompleteness" of its title according to reviewer Heather Phares,[8] and his first pop-song-oriented release since his work for Ford & Lopatin.[9]

The sound palettes it uses are those from a variety of styles such as chamber pop,[9] "android"-like folk and country music,[8][1][9] yacht rock,[10] smooth jazz,[10] R&B,[8][9] Future-style soul,[11] 'sadboy elegies',[11] black metal,[11] new age,[12] and stadium pop,[11][12] as well as post-industrial sounds on tracks like "Warning", "We'll Take It" and "Same", and, in particular, baroque music and medieval music on the opening title track, "Age Of".[12][1] Critics also noted elements of Lopatin's past discography being present on Age Of.[8][12][1]

The instrumentation of Age Of is made up of MIDI harpsichords, guitars, pianos, brass and vocals, as well as Lopatin's trademark unorthodox sound design, samples and synth presets.[3] The LP's use of the harpsichord shows its similarities "with Eastern instruments such as the koto and with rapid-fire electronic melodies", wrote Phares.[8]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.8/10[13]
Metacritic83/100[14]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [8]
The A.V. ClubA−[9]
Consequence of SoundB+[10]
Mixmag9/10[15]
Mojo     [16]
The Observer     [17]
Pitchfork7.8/10[18]
Q     [19]
Resident Advisor4/5[1]
Uncut6/10[20]

Age Of was critically well-received upon its distribution.[14][13] Some reviewers praised the album's use of collaborators.[12][8][10] Phares called Age Of a "landmark work" for Lopatin.[8] She praised it as his "widest-ranging" release, elaborating that he "matches the album's ambition with plenty of emotion" and "gives his music exciting new shapes."[8] Ross Devlin of The Skinny, in a five-star review of the record, also highlighted the album's amount of ambition, particularly the "wealth of exquisitely baroque moments, exploring history as a pliable, multi-dimensional rift", that gave it "exceptional sonic depth".[12] The Observer praised Age Of for continuing the "off-kilter composition and unexpected instrumentation" of Lopatin's previous releases,[17] and critic Matt McDermott highlighted that the producer increased his musical range with the record: "It's a dizzying trip meant to shore up Lopatin's status as an avant-garde auteur while aiding his forays into mainstream pop culture."[1]

Age Of was ranked the 15th best release of the year in The Wire magazine's annual critics' poll.[21]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Daniel Lopatin.

No.TitleLength
1."Age Of"3:24
2."Babylon"3:04
3."Manifold"1:50
4."The Station"4:20
5."Toys 2"4:39
6."Black Snow"3:41
7."myriad.industries"1:07
8."Warning"2:38
9."We'll Take It"3:45
10."Same"2:02
11."RayCats"3:40
12."Still Stuff That Doesn't Happen"4:22
13."Last Known Image of a Song"4:06

Sample credits

  • "Age Of" contains a sample of "Blow the Wind: Pie Jesu" by Jocelyn Pook
  • "Manifold" contains a spoken-word sample from "Overture (Aararat the Border Crossing)" by Tayfun Erdem and a keyboard sample from a tutorial video on reharmonization by Julian Bradley
  • "myriad.industries" contains a sample of "Echospace" by Gil Trythall
  • "We'll Take It" contains spoken-word samples from Mad TV's "Curt Jones Buick Autoplex" skit[22]

AccoladesEdit

Publication Accolade Rank Ref.
Exclaim! Top 10 Dance and Electronic Albums
5
Highsnobiety Top 25 Albums of 2018
21
Mixmag Top 50 Albums of 2018
22
Spin Magazine Top 51 Albums of 2018
10
The 405 Top 50 Albums of 2018
4
The Wire Top 50 Albums of 2018
15

PersonnelEdit

  • Daniel Lopatin – production, lead vocals, album art, design
  • James Blake – additional production, mixing, keyboards
  • Gabriel Schuman, Joshua Smith and Evan Sutton – assistance
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • David Rudnick – album art, design
  • Prurient – vocals
  • Kelsey Lu – keyboards
  • Anohni – vocals
  • Eli Keszler – drums
  • Shaun Trujillo – words

ChartsEdit

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[29] 121
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[30] 109
Scottish Albums (OCC)[31] 72
UK Dance Albums (OCC)[32] 11
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[33] 13
US Top Current Albums (Billboard)[34] 59
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[35] 4
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[36] 8

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f McDermott, Matt (May 30, 2018). "Oneohtrix Point Never – Age Of". Resident Advisor. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Battaglia, Andy. "Waiting for an Age Like You: Oneohtrix Point Never Takes Epoch Stand". ARTnews. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Oneohtrix Point Never's vision of a post-apocalyptic, AI-ruled future | Dazed". Dazed. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "Oneohtrix Point Never on 'Nightmare Ballads' of 'Age Of'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "Oneohtrix Point Never Shares Rejected Usher Demo". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Zoladz, Lindsay (May 31, 2018). "Usher Loves Him, but He Wants Pixar: Oneohtrix Point Never's Moment Is Here". The Ringer. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  7. ^ Joyce, Colin; Staff, Noisey (8 June 2018). "Surviving the Last Days of Excess with Oneohtrix Point Never". vice.com.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Phares, Heather. "Age Of – Oneohtrix Point Never". AllMusic. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e O'Neal, Sean (May 30, 2018). "Oneohtrix Point Never goes pop, then obliterates it on the excellent Age Of". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Sackllah, David (June 1, 2018). "Oneohtrix Point Never Haunts Our Nightmares on Age Of". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d "Oneohtrix Point Never - Age Of - Boomkat". Boomkat. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Devlin, Ross (May 29, 2018). "Oneohtrix Point Never – Age Of". The Skinny. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Age Of by Oneohtrix Point Never reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Age Of by Oneohtrix Point Never Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "Oneohtrix Point Never: Age Of". Mixmag: 115. June 2018.
  16. ^ Worthy, Stephen (July 2018). "Oneohtrix Point Never: Age Of". Mojo (296): 95.
  17. ^ a b Kalia, Ammar (June 3, 2018). "Oneohtrix Point Never: Age Of review – expect the unexpected". The Observer. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  18. ^ Geffen, Sasha (June 2, 2018). "Oneohtrix Point Never: Age Of". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  19. ^ Monroe, Jazz (July 2018). "Oneohtrix Point Never: Age Of". Q (386): 115.
  20. ^ Martin, Piers (July 2018). "Oneohtrix Point Never: Age Of". Uncut (254): 33.
  21. ^ "2018 Rewind: Releases of the Year 1–50". The Wire. No. 419. London. January 2019. p. 33 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  22. ^ "Oneohtrix Point Never's 'We'll Take It' - Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled.
  23. ^ "Exclaim!'s Top 10 Dance and Electronic Albums of 2018". Exclaim.ca. December 12, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  24. ^ Indiana, Jake (December 19, 2018). "The 25 Best Albums of 2018". Highsnobiety.com. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  25. ^ "The Top 50 Albums of 2018". Mixmag.net. December 17, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  26. ^ "51 Best Albums of 2018". Spin.com. December 12, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  27. ^ "The 405's Top 50 Albums of 2018". Thefourohfive.com. December 20, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  28. ^ "The Wire's Releases of the Year 2018". Albumoftheyear.org. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  29. ^ "Ultratop.be – Oneohtrix Point Never – Age Of" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  30. ^ "エイジ・オブ" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  32. ^ "Official Dance Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  33. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  34. ^ "Billboard Biz". Billboard. Retrieved September 15, 2018. Go to "Charts," enter "Oneohtrix Point Never" in the "Artist" field, choose "Top Current Albums," then click "Submit.
  35. ^ "Oneohtrix Point Never Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  36. ^ "Oneohtrix Point Never Chart History (Top Dance/Electronic Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 12, 2018.