-- Dan Lopatin, interviewed at FACT about the new Oneohtrix Point Never album R Plus 7
Interviewer John Twells asks, "I wonder whether this at all relates to the mainstream obsession with all things retro, from Disclosure’s vintage house revivalism to Jack White’s hoary rock? Does Lopatin lump himself in with this sort of nostalgia?"
Lopatin says "My take is that to me, all of that history is subject to becoming a sort of abstract materiality to use for whatever it is I do, intuitively. What I don’t like about music that has this retro aesthetic is that it’s just simply sad that whatever’s happening now isn’t what was happening then, so that sadness is weird. I’m not sentimental for the past so I don’t really understand entirely what the nostalgia is really about – a sadness or a histrionic sense of the past that’s dishonest whereas I’m trying to make an illusion in the sense that, I’m trying to take the past and make it an abstract material that I can then start from scratch and work with, you know. And I just need it because I need material, I need stuff, I need paint.”
But does oil paint, canvas, etc have a "pre-loaded depth", built-in "histories" that manipulate the artist and the artistic outcomes to the same extent? Or, even if it does to some extent, isn't the struggle of the artist precisely to force the materials and the tools to produce results that break with the history sedimented in those materials and tools by the accumulated history of all of their prior usages to date? John Cage and Hiller's HPSCHD does not sound anything like Renaissance or Baroque harpischord based music. (It is also barely endurable as a listening experience, but that's by the by....)
But for sure you can make art that plays with those in-built depths, works with a palette of association, allusion and evocation...
Interesting in this light that Lopatin fesses up to being a Tarantino fanboy:
"There’s part of me that has been and will always be an appropriation artist, I don’t think it’s too much of a debate. I enjoy that aspect of what I do. Also I was a kid who at age 13 saw Pulp Fiction and all of my passwords, my Hotmail password was Quentin, I was completely obsessed with Tarantino. Seriously the way that his films conveyed the love of film itself and not just making pictures, there was this kind of hidden language in them.”
Tarantino who, I've subsequently thought, really ought to have been the subject of a chapter in Retromania.
I touched on the parallels between video-store-clerk cinema-about-cinema and record-store-clerk rock-about-rock way back when reviewing Jon Spencer's Blue Explosion live at the Irving Plaza, NYC, in July 1995: