Inimitable groove sorcery from Theo Parrish on his first album in six years, weaving proper deep house magic in some of his strongest material for a while.
Judging by ‘Wuddaji’ it sounds like Theo has spent his time away slipping ever deeper into his own sound. He returns at a time when jazz and broken beat styles are getting some cyclical shine and the scene could hardly be better prepped for Theo’s super earthy return, working out some of his baddest, wildest drum programming chops alongside soul smackers such as the preceding single ‘This Is For You’ with its killer Maurissa Rose vocal, and the reticulated jazz workout ‘Wuddaji’.
0PN mounts a definitive opus with his rapturous 9th studio album, entirely produced during lockdown, with “executive production” by The Weeknd, who also supplies vocals alongside Arca and Caroline Polachek.
‘Magic Oneohtrix Point Never’ is titled after the mispronunciation of Magic 106.7, a local radio station in Boston, Massachusetts; the state where Daniel Lopatin aka 0PN grew up, and where the album was created. The radio station’s adult contemporary programming is a formative and enduring influence on 0PN’s music, and it’s clear that he’s saved this album title for some of his most accomplished tributes to his influences, but refracted thru his prismatic styles to illustrate the distance between that era, and this, with some of his most elusive, illusive and beguiling sound design wrapped up in a mix of stunningly mazy and pop-toned arrangements.
0PN is one of those artists we’d imagine took to lockdown quite naturally, sequestering themselves away to immerse in their art for the good of everyone outside. Written between March and July, the results of ‘Magic Oneohtrix Point Never’ speak for themselves as 0PN’s most broadly appealing record, typically placing avant-inventiveness and curiosity at the service of a tumultuous narrative that really needs some kind of road-trip simulation game to go along with its possessed dial-strafing.
You’re probably familiar with the album’s opening sequence, which appeared on a lead single, and includes the lushest FM synthesis of 2020 in ‘Long Road Home’, and the rest of the album follows suit with a profligate approach to genre, cutting from phased dream-pop grunge in ’I Don’t Love Me Anymore’, to hypnagogic ident collage in ‘The Whether Channel’, and The Weeknd’s romantic ‘80s power pop turn on ‘Lost But Never Again’, crucially fractured with cut-scenes and mutant jingling of the ‘Cross Talk’ parts that tie the album’s story together with something approaching a sonic-visual analog of Safdie Brothers’ choppy editing gone lysergic.
Psychoactive hardware funk from Washington D.C. duo Protect-U, bending back to their U-Udios label after shots for pals at Future Times
Still restlessly up for messing with the ‘floor, the duo of Mike Petillo and Aaron Leitko dare to be different at each turn, taking in what sounds like Visible Cloaks doing cubist electro on ‘Lunar Note’, and something like a dizzy Ramzi workout in the stumbling syncopation and Fourth World flute trills of ‘Hed Text Illuminated’, like a hectic Plaid in ‘Dream Feed’, or Co La in ‘A Drum in A Room’, and perhaps most definitively with the glancing shards of laser synth that bend around their tricksy rhythms on ‘Our Sound’.
William Basinski’s Sparkle Division drop this sexy bomb of an album for optimum distraction from the world outside, properly surprising this one.
Working closely with his studio guy, Preston Wendel, Basinski reveals a whole other side to his vibe, cracking out his sax in sultry and free-jazzing style over killer rhythm tracks tilting between footwork, disco and lounge lizard swerve. And you can trust that coming from a guy who can rock a snakeskin shirt, he’s packing nuff swagger in every cut, proving Wendel’s input as the ideal foil and catalyst for the sexiest record in his 20 year wide catalogue of exquisite washed out classics.
As Basinski so eloquently puts it, “Lotta babies gonna be born from this one” to the ravishing footwork jazz of ‘Oh Henry!’, the feel of the whole album is just smoky and full of moxie, from that ridiculous cover art, to Basinski’s lowdown sax shredding on ‘You Ain’t Takin’ My Man’, thru lushest ambient loop jobs reminding of Co La and 0PN in ‘To The Stars Major Tom’, purest duvet diving ambience with Basinki’s sumptuous touch in ’To Feel’, and an unmissable outro sounding like Tender Love SND jamming with Angel Bat Dawit in ‘No Exit’. Whew. Time for a cig.