Garden of Delete is the latest offering from prolific experimental musician Daniel Lopatin and – while the Oneohtrix Point Never style is still clear in his latest work – that doesn’t mean it’s an easy listen.
It tells the story of Ezra – a story that Lopatin has embellished online through Twitter, videos, and various blogs – a humanoid alien. The album itself is a lot like Ezra – mysterious, slightly off-putting, and yet hugely compelling. After the schizophrenic ‘Intro’, we are launched into a track named for the curious hero. ‘Ezra’ is both familiar footing for existing fans of Oneohtrix Point Never and also a perfect introduction to his work to those unfamiliar. The stop-start, glitchy, introductory notes are blurred into the frantic synth of the body of the track by way of a reverb-heavy guitar. It’s impossible to settle into listening to Garden of Despair – there’s something very uneasy about the sounds Lopatin creates, and the abrupt shifts in style keep you on your toes.
‘Sticky Drama’ stands out in this regard – the track starts out calm, with the chiming synths reminiscent of rain, but almost immediately Lopatin’s echoing synths sweep the calm away, replacing it with booming basslines (riffing, he says, on the tropes of EDM he’s picked up on tour), interspersed with death metal drumming and guttural screams.
Garden of Delete is dystopic, manic, and above all else – raw. Each new element Lopatin introduces seems aimed to throw the listener off, and yet the individual dissonance forms an album that is holistically enthralling.