5 Songs, 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For a guy who went dark for a decade, Richard D. James, a.k.a. Aphex Twin, has been surprisingly prolific since his 2014 comeback. He’s toyed with robots (Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 EP) and shown off rare synths (Cheetah EP), but on Collapse EP, he revels in the sheer thrill of gonzo beatmaking. The multi-part epic “T69 collapse” begins simply, with rubbery electro rhythms and wistful synths, but halfway through, the drums go haywire and threaten to pull the track apart at any moment. “Pthex” follows a similarly fraught path, starting with gentle echoes of James’ early-’90s ambient works before tangling up in knots. And the streamlined “1st 44” strips back to virtually nothing but shuddering kicks and claps; it’s one of his heaviest drum tracks ever.

EDITORS’ NOTES

For a guy who went dark for a decade, Richard D. James, a.k.a. Aphex Twin, has been surprisingly prolific since his 2014 comeback. He’s toyed with robots (Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 EP) and shown off rare synths (Cheetah EP), but on Collapse EP, he revels in the sheer thrill of gonzo beatmaking. The multi-part epic “T69 collapse” begins simply, with rubbery electro rhythms and wistful synths, but halfway through, the drums go haywire and threaten to pull the track apart at any moment. “Pthex” follows a similarly fraught path, starting with gentle echoes of James’ early-’90s ambient works before tangling up in knots. And the streamlined “1st 44” strips back to virtually nothing but shuddering kicks and claps; it’s one of his heaviest drum tracks ever.

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About Aphex Twin

Few artists have had a more lasting impact on the shape of electronic music than Richard D. James. If the scene often feels shrouded in mystery, we have him to thank: Born in Ireland in 1971, the Cornwall, UK-based producer best known as Aphex Twin has gone by scads of aliases (Polygon Window, GAK, Power-Pill) and fostered wild speculation—that he lives in a bank vault, or drives a tank. His trickster persona has led to stunts like DJing with sandpaper and spectacles like his terrifying “Come to Daddy” video. But it’s James’ playful spirit and dazzlingly complex programming that have endured the most, spread across the ethereal fantasias of 1992’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92, the mercurial drill ’n’ bass cadences of 1995’s ...I Care Because You Do, and 1996’s Richard D. James Album. Beyond the confines of IDM—that’s “intelligent dance music”—a subgenre that sprouted up around James’ mischievous rave mutations, his influence can be heard in James Blake’s crinkled sound design and Skrillex’s kinetic bass whirlwinds. Following 2001’s restlessly experimental Drukqs, home to the lovely piano sketch “Avril 14th,” which Kanye repurposed for 2010’s “Blame Game,” Aphex Twin went dark for more than a decade. Syro, his 2014 comeback, demonstrated a deeper, woozier sound, full of strange detunings and odd, shuddering grooves that have continued to distinguish his work across subsequent releases.

HOMETOWN
Limerick, Ireland
BORN
18 August 1971

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