When the painful traumas of reality are reflected through the warped, distorted lens of experimental art, the result often lies somewhere blurred between escapist fantasy and stark confrontation. Sort of like an audio equivalent of The Uncanny Valley, this is the type of aesthetic that polarizes music snobs with its unabashedly alien response to universal anxieties, referencing only the loosest possible framework of pop sensibility. Enter Oneohtrix Point Never and James Ferraro, two multifaceted maestros of The Digital Age who happened to release two of their most challenging, inspiring, and deceptively bleak works of their respective music careers this year. Safe to say, we are in for one hell of a Black Friday show at The Independent next week.
James Ferraro’s three track SoundCloud release WAR is directly inspired by the artist’s personal experience with “Bravemind”, an “immersive virtual reality exposure therapy system designed for Iraq war veterans suffering from PTSD” (as Ferraro explained in a statement accompanying the September release). Dazed and haunted by virtual shell shock, Ferraro deploys his own sonic drones and poetic vocals to survey the wasteland of his affected mind. While decidedly less accessible than some of his far-out futurist takes on culture and consumerism, WAR offers a rare excursion around the broken edges of the human psyche.
Daniel Lopatin explores an equally terrifying subject on his latest release as Oneohtrix Point Never. That’s right, puberty! Garden of Delete is impressively one of Lopatin’s most complex and technical releases to date. It was written from the perspective of an adolescent humanoid alien character named “Ezra” (see above), and greatly expands upon Oneohtrix Point Never’s signature tones by exploiting the dichotomy of hormonal rage into something that is simultaneously humorous and horrifying, repulsive and beautiful, and ultimately deeply cathartic. Too musical to be a noise album and too noisy to be anything else, the experience of Garden of Delete ultimately lies within the ears of the beholder, human and alien alike.
Witness these two artistic pioneers push the boundaries of electronic music at The Independent on November 27.
Oneohtrix Point Never, James Ferraro
November 27, 2015