Drawing inspiration from his recent world tour with Nine Inch Nails, Daniel Lopatin's latest effort is particularly dark and abrasive. At times, Garden of Delete sounds like a rock album trapped inside the electronic format, with an obscured vocalist making appearances throughout. By harnessing the loud-quiet-loud formula of '90s alternative, the album achieves total chaos and clarity often during the same song, as harmonies are constantly demolished and rebuilt using different parts.
Of course, unpredictability has always been a hallmark of the OPN sound. On lead single "I Bite Through It," a charging chorus of distortion is sonically diffused and reduced to a single, wispy guitar chord, while "Freaky Eyes" changes gothic organs to a pop song drowning in static with the turn of a radio dial. "Sticky Drama" nears black metal territory, with sinister vocal samples and the semblance of double-bass drums.
For all its compelling complexities though, Garden of Delete still manages to sound accessible — "Animals" might have been pulled right from the Top 40, but perhaps something went horribly wrong in the mixing process. A sound collage like no other, Garden of Delete finds Lopatin engaging listeners with an album that almost defies description. (Warp)