Debuting new material from his freshly released, seventh studio album Garden of Delete, Oneohtrix Point Never, the electronic music producer and head of Brooklyn-based record label Software otherwise known as Daniel Lopatin, headlined a nearly sold-out show at The Independent the day after Thanksgiving. Playing to a confounded crowd, the audience was made up of equal parts longtime OPN fans and experimental enthusiasts intrigued by the “vaporwave” pioneer’s latest round of critical praise.
After a short opening set from James Ferraro, who warmed the crowd up with his own brand of avant-garde noise, OPN took the stage. Aiming to pull out all the stops this tour with the debut of a brand-new show that sees him incorporating live vocals into the performance for the very first time, Lopatin enthusiastically jumped full throttle into his new material after the short set break between acts.
As the entire venue filled with a surreal haze of back-lit fog, OPN kicked things off in dramatic fashion, bouncing a syncopated strobe light off the blinding smoke to the maniacal pace of “I Bite Through It”. Lopatin’s presence remained audibly present above the visually obscuring fog, drawing the crowd’s attention as he transitioned from the opening instrumental track into the critically acclaimed single “Sticky Drama” from Garden of Delete. The track’s music video, which Lauptin worked with Montreal artist, filmmaker and essayist Jon Rafman to create, was projected on two small screens to each side of Lauptin.
Making up the platform for Lauptin’s new stage show, the disproportionately small screens displayed jumbled video footage throughout the performance. Somewhat distracting, albeit synchronized with each track, the content and possible deeper meaning behind the footage eventually felt unnecessary in respect to the real focus of the show, which undoubtedly was Lopatin’s live vocals.
Nearly indecipherable, Lopatin performed his tracks in perfect modulated pitch, hitting every jarringly polarizing note while assaulting his fans’ eardrums with bone-rattling baselines and undertones. The crowd’s attention remained entranced in the sensory-deprived ambiance, with only mere moments to process the performance between songs as Lopatin attempted to communicate without breaking application of his auto-tuned vocalization. Once he came to terms with the fact that the crowd wasn’t able to process his banter in between songs, Lopatin decided to let OPN’s material speak for itself and finished out his set by creating a stunning atmosphere replete with a beautifully transcendent encore of “Music for Steamed Rocks”.