Electronic and experimental music wizard Daniel Lopatin returns under the iconic Oneohtrix Point Never name for his 10th studio album. Again is the first work released by Lopatin as Oneohtrix Point Never (OPN) since 2020’s Magic Oneohtrix Point Never, which acted as a retrospective of his career warped through the daily transmissions of an ordinary day’s radio broadcast. After all, his name comes from a mondegreen of the Boston station Magic 106.7. His newest work, Again, follows similar themes of retrospection and bridging with your past self, however, it is done in a completely different way than his last full length project.
Overtime OPN has become known as one of the most innovative and influential electronic musicians of all time. Whether that be from his collaborations with The Weeknd, legendary soundtrack work, or for being a founding member of vaporwave, he has a pretty lengthy resume at this point. Even still he manages to capture a sound on Again that not only is distinctly him, but goes in explosive new directions. There are moments on Again that capture the various different corners of his previous discography, and other moments that protrude into uncharted territory.
Again, as an album, is incredibly detailed and ever changing within its runtime. The title track is a great example of how this happens on this record. It starts off with glitchy midi choir samples and broken synths, culminating in a hauntingly beautiful ooze of wailing sirens, only to end in a foreboding passage with echoing vocals saying “What are you doing here?” Another track that really stuck out to me was “The Body Trail.” It swirls its synths with these surprisingly catchy AI generated vocal clips to create a peaceful blissed out, and simultaneously incredibly unnerving atmosphere.
While Again has tons of really interesting experimental moments there’s a lot of really interesting more conventional moments on the record too. Take the track “Krumville” for example. It starts off with this hypnagogic guitar loop, reminiscent of something from Lopatin’s other vaporwavey alias Chuck Person. But the track shifts into this vocal driven earworm with incredible ease. Moments like this just show how extremely versatile and well done this record stands to be if you take the time to dive into it.
I think the final stretch of the album is where it truly shines though. “On An Axis” is another track that starts out with a beautiful hypnotic eccojam. Halfway through it shifts into this off the rails crescendo of guitars and drums in one of the most gratifying moments on the whole record. This is followed by “Ubiquity Road” which could arguably be the most beautiful song Lopatin has ever made. For me, it is up there with past ambient songs like “Physical Memory” and “Laser to Laser” which are already some of his greatest works in my opinion. It shimmers with synth patches interwoven by bubbly flute lines and juno arpeggios blurring into the mix as echoes from his early ambient synth work. The song is completely desolate yet ever hopeful in the sincerest way. It is safe to say that this will be one of my favorite ambient adjacent songs released this year. But this song is then followed by the colossally huge “A Barely Lit Path” which is the perfect closer for this album. It combines themes from across all of the tracks, from the orchestral interjections to the distorted vocal melodies to the warped synths, only to climax at this extremely intense rush of rapid synth arpeggios and drums and then fades away abruptly in an almost crushing 8-bit goodbye.
Overall this record in my opinion is an extremely awesome new entry in the OPN discography. There isn’t a single track on this album that I couldn’t write pages upon pages about. Again will have veteran fans in love with its references to previous tracks and innovative sonic tangents, and for new listeners it couldn’t be a better way to enter the wildly magical and immensely imaginative world of Oneohtrix Point Never.