Zones Without People

Oneohtrix Point Never

Software, 2009 (reissued 2013)

This is one of 0PN’s original set of EPs before Returnal came out, I have the rerelease of this and two others from a few years later.

If I could meet with anyone to find out how they make music, like, to study with them for a couple months, Mr. Lopatin would be pretty high up on this list after all these years. Not only are his sounds interesting, but he’s gone through several of them, from more synthy arpeggiated romps like these to the sample-based work he’s famous for these days. I had the chance to see him once in Amsterdam, I will relate that story when I end up reviewing R Plus Seven, the album that had come out recently.

The longest journey on this record is “Format & Journey North”, which takes awhile but ends up where you expect it to go: north. And by north I mean with a big beautiful synths-on-synths climax. Nothing more or less.

Title track is arpeggiated synths. Again, that’s OK.

“Learning to Control Myself” is a slow jam, or it starts out that way anyhow, until the self in question loses control, so to speak. I turned my speakers down at this point because I’m not the only one in the house.

“Emil Cioran” is pretty fun, starts out thumping hard before evolving into… [checks notes] … eighty synths on top of each other, again. But that’s OK, that’s what this is. Every track on any given album sounds the same as the other tracks and that’s very OK. That’s what genre is. Play it loud.

The last track is pretty arpeggiated, again. But it does end with seagulls, I think.