In 1980 I Was a Blue Square, Rene Hell’s suite for piano, synthesizer and computer, glitters on leaves that aren’t gold yet, and predicts autumn’s harshest gusts. On the flip side of this split release, Oneohtrix Point Never offers tours through the Reliquary House.
Music for Reliquary House is a reworking of an audio-visual installation: pink, brown, black,and yellow gardens of fingers, eyes and ears. Airport music is piped in, and technicians dial-up to the Internet.
At five minutes left, words start forming from the diced bits. The texture is vile and blasphemous, and that repulsion is the strongest impression Oneohtrix Point Never imparts.
In 1980 I Was a Blue Square dangles in time. The piano and orchestral synths span centuries, the electronics are lifted from telephone wires and radio transmissions. You’ll find no kitschy anachronisms. There’s no blind dash future-ward or corresponding abandonment, except for avoiding tacky nostalgia.
Rene Hell’s minimalism forces everything going on to serve his compositions. The abstract electricity isn’t retrofit onto straightforward piano, nothing on In 1980 is grafted. The marriage keeps all parties vital, and the achievement is the sentimental effect. In 1980 is interesting, emotive and beautiful.