Edinburgh International Festival music review: Oneohtrix Point Never: Magnetic Rose, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Pollock
When this year’s group of Hub Sessions was announced, it was this show in particular which seemed like a bold departure for the Edinburgh International Festival. Those who remember Boston electronic musician Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never’s club set at Sneaky Pete’s during 2011’s festival will recall a fiercely uncompromising talent whose work is based around a visceral sonic aesthetic rather than any sense of demonstrative performance. A departure for the International Festival into the realms of the more defiantly underground, Lopatin’s show here was split into two distinct suites.
Bullet Hell Abstraction, the first and shorter of these suites, didn’t augur well. Hidden behind a shrouded table and a bank of glowing equipment, Lopatin produced swathes of electronic noise designed to play precisely in time with a 1990s-vintage “shoot ’em up” video game. It was densely evocative in its futuristic surges of noise and uncompromising volume and texture, and there was a certain hypnotic quality to watching a spaceship blast aliens for many long minutes to a soundtrack which fused industrial, techno and the style of an arcade game score. It sounded great, but the visual aspect was one-note and slight.
Yet Magnetic Rose, the longer of the two pieces, was a triumph. A soundtrack to the similarly-titled segment of Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1995 sci-fi anime film Memories, a beautifully emotive tale of space scavengers finding a deserted mausoleum to a long-dead opera singer, Lopatin’s sounds worked perfectly in harmony with Otomo’s visuals and storytelling. Fusing delicate Japanese figures with fearsome, otherworldly effects which spoke of impending threat and horror, they created an utterly vivid and absorbing audience experience.
Published in The Scotsman on 24 August 2015
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