top of page

Oneohtrix Point Never / Wexner Center, Columbus / January 17, 2014

By Bailey Kretz, Staff Writer

Apparently every hipster within a two-hour radius of Columbus braved the freezing cold to seeOneohtrix Point Never play at the Wexner Center on Friday night. Seriously, what more could a gloomy semi-goth kid want? Mind-fucking electronic music? Check. Concert in a dark room at a museum? Check. Live film accompaniments simulating an LSD trip? Huge check.

All joking aside, Daniel Lopatin, the genius behind Oneohtrix Point Never, put on an outstanding show. The skill it takes to leave a room of people completely silent in awe is one that not many artists can achieve. Every person’s attention was directly on the pitch-black stage, which featured Lopatin in front of a table full of synths and Nate Boycecontrolling the live video being projected on the huge screen behind them. No lights were on stage other than the glow of their laptops. The audience was completely silent: no iPhones were out taking pictures, and not a soul was speaking. The trance that this performance set on the whole room is indescribable.

Let’s back up though. Enter Oneohtrix Point Never. For those who are not familiar with this mind-boggling artist, that’s a major mistake. Lopatin’s albums can be hard to break into at first and will potentially sound like scattered noises rather than music. That’s okay! It’s supposed to sound like that to an extent. Oneohtrix Point Never’s style is to deliberately confuse the brain, looping layers of unsynchronized beats and patterns so that listeners are transported into what feels like an alternate universe.

Now, picture that in a huge warehouse-like venue. Giant speakers surrounded the entire room and allowed Lopatin to present his music in a 360 degree approach, rather than the lateral way that headphones limit listeners to. To actually be able to hear every individual layer that Lopatin was playing all at once, coming from multiple locations of outputs was an experience that is like no other. The room was shaking from the bass, and every speaker seemed to be blasted as loud as it could go. Each pumping beat spread through the room, bouncing off walls and back at the listeners.

As if that experience wouldn’t be disorienting enough, enter in the element of a live film feature. Along on this tour was artist Nate Boyce, who created a synchronized visual element to join the audio component of the show. Now, what these visual elements were exactly is the tough part to explain. Basically it looked like somebody fucked around in Maya or some other three-dimensional design program and made a terrifying collage of random shit.

The visuals that were projected on the screen were beyond bizarre. One clip featured a strange multicolored blob bouncing up and down in a gooey, yellow puke-like substance. That image looped for a good five minutes before switching to another scene which had a weird cube-arm creature cycling through white water while a square with random pictures flipped through to the beat of “Problem Areas.” Nothing made any sense, but that’s totally alright. Anything short of an animated hallucinogenic trip would have been dissatisfying.

The highlight of the show was probably the last 20 minutes which featured semi-recognizable versions of “Americans" and “He She," each of which never seemed to settle into their regular form. Followed by this was “Russian Mind” which flashed the names of strange U.S. towns and completely unrelated images across the screen at epileptic rates.

Right when this scene began to feel a little bit comfortable Lopatin switched into the pulsing beats of the familiar “Zebra,” his latest single. Strange, geometric shapes made of a plasma material melted and reformed into each other as the camera’s point-of-view shifted around this unnatural world. That was quite a dizzying experience as the bass and arpeggiated synths continued to pump through the ground.

Oneohtrix Point Never was able to turn a small, barren room in a museum into a work of art in itself. Though the set was only an hour long, which was slightly disappointing, it was probably a smart idea to end the show on that note. It prevented all of the hip kids with their Dr. Martens and half-shaved heads from going completely insane after an hour of those visuals. Regardless, this performance was so beautifully crafted that it’s safe to say that Daniel Lopatin has secured himself a placement as one of the best live performers in the past few years.

Recent Posts
Featured Posts
bottom of page