Electronic Emergency Room (are we post neu rave yet?)

by juli boggs

During some research I was doing on the history of X-rays earlier this week I stumbled upon an absolutely amazing picturedisc of a Ford and Lopatin single that I knew I had to have before I’d even heard the track. While frou-frou media packaging gets me every time, the featured single “Emergency Room” is not only infectious, it’s really really good (scroll to bottom to preview track).

To understand why, you have to go back, WAY BACK, to Brooklyn 2009 where electronic producer Daniel Lopatin was sitting in his Brooklyn bedroom laboratory pumping out ambient wash jams under the name Oneohtrix Point Never. Evolving as a product of a Tron and Angelina-Jolie-starring-in-Hackers era, Oneohtrix mostly sounds like you’re too stoned to listen to Boards of Canada. It comes to you in distant waves, where the breaking on the shore of your consciousness is splayed out over the course of a minute rather than a moment. Tracks like “Zones without People” undulate and constantly elude you, close enough to touch but not grasp (like that episode of Portlandia), with all the tense and melancholic tones of electronic doom a man can take.

Pairing up with Joel Ford of lesser known outfit Tigercity, the duo then known as Games continued the trajectory Lopatin was exploring as OPN. With enough synth to make you sick, Games put out a double cassette mixtape stating “we just think music should be slower…10% slower than slow.” A single track entitled “MIDI Drift” debuting on their blog this time last year describes their approach as succinctly as anything. Listening to the track “Everything is Working” from their mid-90’s Microsoft stock image EP That We Can Play, you can hear them sliding away from their works as Games into something more akin to R&B. The shift resulted in their most recent incarnation, Ford and Lopatin, a name as straightforward as their new sound.

Which brings us to the present: While Ford and Lopatin’s recently released single “Emergency Room” may signify a step away from ambient and soundly into pop, it is only one step further on a journey that has taken them (and their fans) from somewhere deep in the woods to out in the sunlight. It’s refreshing, warm, illuminating, and effortlessly their most immediately felt material to date. From the first note, the sound seems to emanate right between your ears rather than transmitting to the listener from some unseen foggy distance. It would seem that Ford and Lopalin have thoroughly explored “the undercurrents of pop music” and broken the surface with something glimmering. A truth maybe. A treasure. They have discovered something about their roots and realized an end product.

Their debut LP Channel Pressure is due out June 7th on their own Mexican Summer label affiliate Software, and was mixed by Prefuse 73.

On a barely related end-note, check out this fantastic track Prefuse 73 remixed for José González fronted trio Junip. Love it. Junip – Always (Prefuse 73 remix)

And now, the track you’ve all been waiting for: Ford & Lopatin “Emergency Room”

Feature image of Emergency Room EP from Mexican Summer, imbedded Ford and Lopatin images from Xlr8r.