For a while i thought i'd outgrown rock music. Go easy on me i was in my late teens and was yet to realise i'd barely scratched the surface with the vast and diverse genre at this point. Plus, my obsession with a little known band from Oxford, England who just happened to turn it's back on the familiar three chord back beat formula with their now seminal album Kid A, was at an all time high. During this relatively short period in my life, i waxed lyrical about the greatness of electronic music, particularly the bands dubbed Intelligent by the critics (IDM). Boards Of Canada were my favourites amongst this sub genre. I found Their approach to music making incredibly unique and totally beguiling, at the time i wasn't aware of the methods behind how the music was actually being made (in all honesty i'm still not quite sure) and i think that was part of it's appeal, i just felt completely immersed in it's warped acousmatic ambience.
Years have gone by and although i've always remained a fan of electronic music in all it's permutations. I have to admit to crawling right back to rock with my tail between my legs quite some time ago, championing it as comfortably my favourite genre of music. It's albums like Oneohtrix point Never's outstanding 2011 opus Replica that get me genuinely thinking maybe i was right all those years ago. Even though this album was pretty hyped by a few "alternative magazines" when it came out, I'm not sure how many people went out and actually bought this or even streamed it. If you didn't you should have. This felt and still feels like a landmark record, from the moment i press play and "Andro's" ominous synths blare out of my speakers to the disturbingly eroticized vocoder sounds that close out "Explain". I love how Daniel Lopatin (OPN) has constructed these songs, they're steadfastly gripping and superlatively creepy. The sounds he sampled for the songs on Replica (mainly from 1980's commercials) have been so cleverly recontextualized and sequenced i could even imagine the KLF blushing whilst hearing them.
Take "Sleep Dealer" which only plays for a little over 3 minutes, but throughout that time it creates a dense, otherwordly universe of abstract beauty. Repeating and interweaving the gasps and sighs of an annonymous voice(s), whilst layering them with a thumping percussive pulse, warbly synths and cinematic drones. "Nassau" manages a similar feat by using many of the same ingredients although it's an altogether more fractured and cacophanous work albeit no less remarkable. The more minimalist drone pieces like "Submersible" work incredibly well also, conjuring up images of baron lands of eternal darkness and unspeakable devastation. The absolute crown on here is the title track though, the understated piano motif and the nefarious drones effortlessly come together to create a masterpiece of melancholia capable of stopping you dead in your tracks. For anyone who slept on this last year go pick this up pronto it's beyond essential listening.