Since releasing Magic OPN, Daniel Lopatin has been keeping himself busy, especially being the key part of The Weeknd’s recent album (and best one out of his discography so far) Dawn FM, even working on his Super Bowl Half-Time Performance in 2021. He also produced an album for Soccer Mommy in 2022 and even scored for segments on Star Wars: Visions S2 and Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities. He’s even now producing a score for the upcoming Showtime/A24 series The Curse.
Now he’s on his 10th studio album under the OPN alias and his fifth record under Warp, Again. The first single to come from that album was “A Barely Lit Path” aka the final numbered track on the album, and I can say for that track that it’s very reminiscent of his score work or even close to Garden of Delete.
Actually, that is what I have to say going into this project.
The opening track “Elsewhere” has this whole orchestra playing which, between the strings and violin, is very operatic like the opener of a mystifying sci-fi movie from A24. Seeing him and A24 are like chocolate and caramel: it fits right in. “Again” is signature OPN from the glitches and polyphony to the digital sounds, and it even has the harpsichord in there. It’s like whenever you hear saxophone on a track: the impact of it increases more and more once hearing it.
“World Outside” is easily my favorite track on the album with the hard-hitting glitch production as it feels like the beat just hits you in the face, and then it devolves into this spacey, ambient breakdown with some guitars to add in that alt-rock vibe to things.
I hear the power lines
They tell me that I’ll be fine
Existence clear as mind
But isn’t the view so amazing?
The songbird cries to me
The flowers speak so clearly
A wavelength in a sea
It’s just my interpretation
You get more of that guitar sound on the next track “Krumville,” and it’s very melancholic and atmospheric, especially with these lyrics.
And I saw him
To my surprise
He was a friend
And now he’s gone
To Krumville Road
Where he can hide
And live the way
The following tracks ease more into familiar territory in terms of sound and tone, like “Locrian Midwest,” “Plastic Antique,” and “Gray Subviolet”. “Plastic Antique” almost had me remembering some scenes from Uncut Gems as it has those mesmerizing cascading sequences in there. In fact, I think the reason why it’s called Again because it does feel like I noticed some of the same motifs from other projects he did. “Nightmare Paint” has some eerie synth-wave work going on, moving into that chaotic groove.
The mood slows down a bit with the next couple of tracks, “Memories of Music” & “On an Axis,” entering a tranquil, serene vibe throughout with some bits of roughness in there. Continuing on with “Ubiquity Road,” it still has that synth production ease its way until we get to final track, that being the single “A Barely Lit Path” and while releasing the final track as a single spoils how the album would end: beautifully with a bit of an abrupt stop.
Overall, while the album does have more of an organic feel from bringing in violins, harpsichords, guitar and more, the vibe and tone still has that Lopatin signature from top to bottom. Some bits and pieces might be familiar to his previous albums but it’s never repeating himself over and over again. Hell, I kept thinking that this almost sounds like most of his past work, even his film scores to the two Safdie Brothers movies he did but it never came to that and it wouldn’t make my opinion of it go lower. Still, this is another one of OPN’s finest records.
FINAL VERDICT: BUY IT. Again. Yes, I ranked him high…. again.
AGAIN is on Warp Records and is available on CD, vinyl, digital download and streaming services (yes, even on his BANDCAMP).