The latest album from synthlord Daniel Lopatin, Garden of Delete, is a musical wormhole of mind-melting progressive electronic jams. For this record, Lopatin returned to the sonic palette of 2011’s Replica to create an album which sounds stitched together from the dregs of digital culture – theme tunes for bad sitcoms, adverts and computer viruses. But GoD is a far cry from the hazy ambience of that record, and instead finds Lopatin in a much darker, more confrontational mood. If Replica was artful channel-hopping, GoD is the distorted static of a channel not receiving any signal: abrasive, disorientating, and demanding your attention. This is certainly not background music – the panning of the drums on ‘Mutant Standard’ make it feel as if the sound is leaping right out of your speakers, while a number of other tracks are so high tempo and busy they have more in common with gabber than drone. ‘Sticky Drama’ is one such track, an aural clusterfuck of sinister, pounding drums and twisted vocal samples. In typical OPN fashion, the track shifts rapidly from one phase to the next with little or no warning, any traditional structure abandoned in favour of a gleeful leap from one musical idea to the next.
Many musicians couldn’t pull this off, but the sheer breadth of weird and wonderful sounds which Lopatin is able to conjure into existence make GoD a pleasure to listen to. From the synths that are manipulated to sound like xylophones on ‘Child of Rage’ to the noodly guitar work on ‘I Bite Through It’, Lopatin is always looking for unusual sounds to weave into his music. ‘Freaky Eyes’ is another chameleonic highlight, a track that shifts from moody ambience to a cinematic organ/synth run until, at the 3 minute mark, theres a beeping noise that could honestly be a sample of an answerphone, and then about 10 seconds of warped radio pop that is broadcast in from another planet before being immediately engulfed in Lopatin’s musical madness. And closer ‘No Good’ brings the album to a contemplative and suitably strange finish with its funk-guitar synths and wobbly autotuned vocals.
The overwhelming impression I get from Garden of Delete is one of turning an AM radio dial and cycling rapidly through half-heard snippets of hypnotizing music and white noise. The album is as complex and unique as anything you’ll hear this year – a lament to digital dissociation and broken computers that ranks among 2015s best.