Turning up at about 10pm for a rare late night show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, at London’s Southbank Centre, is a bit of a strange feeling. There are bouncers on the door, the bass is vibrating from the glass walls, and smoke machines are puffing away indoors. The sight of people munching away on gourmet crisps reminds you that you are, in fact, in an arts centre, and not a rave (albeit a very sedate, polite one).
I walk in just in time to see Daniel Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never step up onstage (apparently his name is a play on words of his local radio station in Boston, Magic 106.7). The set is impressively seamless; new material flows into snapshots of more familiar sounds from his albums “Rifts” and “Returnal” – at times beautiful, and at times resonating with almost deafening intensity, while maintaining a balance between the digital and the organic. The visuals are equally impressive, with 3D landscapes teeming with colour and moving projections of shapes, retro but with the sophistication of modern techniques.
Next up is producer and DJ oOoOO. His set is a mixture of ambient techno stylings and washed-out post-Dubstep that continues the soundscape theme nicely, whilst taking us into the final act of the night. Games is OPN plus Joel Ford of Tiger City (a synthy pop quartet from Brooklyn). Trashy drum machines clash with oozes of warped synths, together sounding like they’ve come off an old 80s Disco vinyl that’s been played a few too many times. Their music is lurid, melodic and a lot of fun. This particular taste for the retro finds itself on lines not too far away from the much-talked about Hype Williams, who have been creating alluring lo-fi boogies out of found sounds and antique-sounding synthesizer sounds. While their performance was striking, the star of the show remains OPN, with his starkly original scapes of sound, and intuition for melding it all together in the live setting.