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Oneohtrix Point Never’s R Plus Seven is notable for its inclusion of highly conceptual ideas, rooted in science fiction, critiques of late-capitalism, and hyper-media, all while remaining a remarkable musical statement in its own right, removed from these outside aesthetics and concepts. While listeners might create their own narratives for the tracks on R Plus Seven, Daniel Lopatin, who thinks of himself more of a conceptual media artist than as a musician, has a very clear idea about what most of these songs are about. Most listeners might never know the meaning behind most of the songs on R Plus Seven. In an interview with FACT Magazine, Lopatin revealed some of the concepts behind the track “Americans”:

“The track ‘Americans’ in particular, I remember watching Battlestar Galactica, the new one – pretty solid show – I got pretty deep into it and I started focusing in on the score and the sound design of the show and I realized that the thing that happens a lot on commercial science fiction television in general is that they don’t know how to easily characterize alien civilization so they use world music instead. So the capitalist vision of alien life is basically the reductive, canned world instrument. And to me that’s an acutely American position. I got into this idea, and that piece to me is more or less satirical.”

“Americans” opens with the sounds of chirping birds, which is quickly interrupted by the sound of static. A transmission? Cut to the alien civilization. Midi strings and washes of synth skirt around a repeat xylophone ostinato. This theme is interrupted, and the music mimics the effect of something being beamed down from space. Cut to equipment stuttering. Waves of synth. Equipment clips and cuts out. Awakened in a ritualistic space by the sounds of an alien chorus, we survive to hear one last joyous alien jam.

– Alec Livaditis

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