One of four intensely experimental albums to make our year-end countdown (the others being Death Grips' The Powers That B, Jenny Hval's Apocalypse Girl, and Holly Herndon's Platform), it's my least favorite of the four, not for a lack of interesting moments or ideas, of which there are many, but simply because of my knee-jerk rejection of some the experimental sonic elements that make up so much of the Lopatin's palette this time out.
At the heart of the problem is the album's ubiquitous use of the auto-tuning software program Chipspeech, and the awful, Alvin & The Chipmunks vocals that software produces.
Much as with Sufjan Steven's unrelenting parade of schizophrenic bleeps and farts on his 2010 release The Age Of Adz, the chipspeech vocals make perfect thematic sense as our tour guide throughout Garden Of Delete is ostensibly OPN's recurrent alien character, Ezra, but that doesn't make those vocals any less irritating, and they seriously diminish the impact of what would have otherwise been two of the album's best tracks - Sticky Drama and Animals.
Still, the album worked for a lot of listeners better than it did for me, finishing top-15 in the 2015 year-end consensus polls, so if you're a fan of OPN or other aggressively experimental artists like Battles who autotune their vocals in similar ways, you should give Garden of Delete a shot.
Tracks that worked the best for me here include the short, hard-hitting SDFK, which has more of a Tim Hecker/Ben Frost IDM feel, the strong starting Freaky Eyes, No Good, the one song where the autotuned vocals go in deeper, more soulful Bon Iver-y direction, and my favorite track, the more ambient but often beautiful Child Of Rage.
Status: Mild Recommend
Cherry Picker's Best Bets: SDFK, Child Of Rage, Freaky Eyes, No Good.
1. Intro - 6
2. Ezra - 7
3. ECOJAMC1 - 7
4. Sticky Drama - 6
5. SDFK - 7
6. Mutant Standard - 6
7. Child Of Rage - 8 .
8. Animals - 6
9. I Bite Through It - 5
10. Freaky Eyes - 7
11. Lift - 6
12. No Good - 7
Intangibles - Below Average
Here's the creepy, Val Kilmer-starring official video for Animals.