Boomkat Product Review:
OPN's 'Zones Without People' was released in 2009 on a highly limited vinyl run for Arbor. All seven tracks featured in his Wire chart-topping 'Rifts' compilation, predating his mindblowing 'Returnal' album (surely one of the best of 2010) and displaying its prodigiously gifted creator amidst some of his most affective synthscapes. From the outset we could consider this to be classic material, as the miniature 'Computer Vision' - one of his very earliest creations circa 2004 - plugs into a spiraling matrix of arpeggiations leading us into his pastoral dimensions. Following this, 'Format & Journey North' is a two way ticket from the most blissed recesses of OPN's memory, initially dappled in shimmering New-Age hypercolour and samples of bird song, before a second movement changes tack towards an intangible melancholy darkness opening up into the periphery and stretching way into the horizon. The title track itself is a massive personal favourite, one of his most subdued and heart-wrenching arrangements evoking the alien raptures of Autechre's 'Amber' LP but remembered with a gauzy, heavy lidded effect that shouldn't be consumed when operating heavy machinery. 'Learning To Control Myself' subsequently features him at his dissonant best, navigating across his keys to unlock a glistening vortex of unnatural harmonics and turbulent noise, leading onto the majestic 'Hyperdawn' and its sensitively teasing sequences slyly winking to Klaus Schulze. We can safely say this mini-album is an absolute must.