Oneohtrix Point Never / Tomutonttu / Blue Ducks

  • Brighton
  • United Kingdom
  • Freebutt
  • 2010-05-27

Opening the show at the Freebutt was Blue Ducks, who paired lo-fi bedroom electronics effectively with hip-hop beats and sampled vocals. The synth melodies occasionally had a fantastically warped edge but the set was mainly in ear-friendly, easy style — the breakbeats making the heads bob but the music overall not setting the mind off. In contrast, Tomutonttu (the solo project of Jan Anderzen of Kemialliset Ystavat) offered a captivating meld of lo-fi drones with rousing tribal heartbeats — altogether more interesting. The sound developed subtly and engagingly within it’s fairly minimal framework, and the only criticism can be the short length of the set at less than twenty minutes.

soundscapes recalling soothing new age washes and sparkling kosmische swirls

Much acclaim has been heaped upon headline act Oneohtrix Point Never, the recording name of Brooklyn resident Danuel Lopatin, including that of topping The Wire’s 2009 album chart with Rifts, which brought together the three EPs Lopatin had issued previously. His style, as displayed here in Brighton, builds layers of droning vintage synth lines into soundscapes recalling soothing new age washes and sparkling kosmische swirls — though run through a more modern filter, from nineties ambient to recent glitchy techno and noise. The influence of the modern sometimes comes in more subtly — the synth patterns of the title track from new album Returnal melded here into the sea of texture — though is sometimes obvious at the fore — as with the fractured beats and scrambled sounds of the set’s closing track (which recalls the new album’s closer “Preyouandi”). At points, including on the aforementioned “Returnal”, Lopatin brings in his voice as another layer in the sound — heavily effected, obscured and melding into the synthetic texture, but still adding a subtle element of emotion and something more tangibly ‘real’. Both offset and aided by the screen at the back of the stage playing multiscreen patterns and montages of computer games and skyscapes, Lopatin’s set was an engulfing experience, and an enjoyable one.

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