August 29, 2023

Oneohtrix Point Never - "A Barely Lit Path"

Following last week's announcement of a new album, Oneohtrix Point Never has now shared the record's lead single, "A Barely Lit Path."

Daniel Lopatin, perhaps best known to some as the electronic artist Oneohtrix Point Never, has been a busy guy since his last album, 2020's Magic Oneohtrix Point Never. He's produced albums for The Weeknd and Soccer Mommy, acted as a musical director for The Weeknd's Super Bowl performance, and scored some television. Now, with his attention back on his own work, Lopatin has dropped the shattering new song "A Barely Lit Path." Taking touchstones from throughout his career, the song starts off with heavily processed vocals, setting the scene for an almost serene vibe full of tranquil synths. Yet something is haunting behind the curtain. As the track progresses, dense electronics start to buzz before neon-streaked riffs start to permeate the intense fogginess. From there, he introduces various new sonic elements such as lush orchestral vibes that give the song a baroque aspect of enriched beauty. Suddenly, it feels almost like a classical piece, one of divine majesty that recalls New Age vibes which could've fit perfectly on the infamous '90s compilation Pure Moods. Yet just when it seems like we've hit a new layer of Lopatin's electronic ingenuity, we're flooded with heavy synths that envision the vibes of the Stranger Things theme song, once again adding a supernatural glow to the song's haunting appeal. While all of these combinations sound disconnected and perhaps even jarring in description, the actual result is an incredible experience, like traveling through a vortex of dazzling sounds that shape shift right before your very eyes and ears. Everything builds to a tantalizing climax (fitting as this is the last track on the album) before slowly dissipating back into the ether. Elements slowly fall to the way side and we're left with more moving melodies and moments that are captivating enough to stop your head from spinning after such a marvelous and sudden sonic journey. It's a marathon disguised as a sprint, yet for a track that covers so much ground, Lopatin excels at the cohesion and confirms the song is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

Again is out September 29.

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