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Aphex Twin

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Album Review

Arguably Richard James' first full-length CD, comprised of various EP's from the early '90s when he was experimenting on his homemade electronic gear and cranking out material that surpassed the work his peers were putting out. Because of the nature of this re-release to CD, the tracks don't always flow from one to the next, but if you want a dense collection of his groundbreaking earlier work, this release will satisfy both the uninitiated and fans alike. Few others knew how to bend the rules of electronic music quite the way James does, and this skill bleeds into present day because he sets the standard for what is always on the horizon. He can turn an atonal collection of sounds into something that transcends the dancefloor, and therefore many of the pieces here require the listener's full attention. His imitable and straightforward track "Digeridoo" finally gets to CD not once but twice, both as the original recording and later as a live version recorded in Cornwall in 1990. Other standouts include "Isopropanol" and "Analogue Bubblebath 1," which are also available on the widely available EP Analogue Bubblebath 1 by AFX (one of his many surnames). "Isopropanol" is ominous and relentless, but also hints at his playful side. Another standout is "Polynomial-C," which sounds like a dance-friendly version of the old COSMOS theme with the same steady rhythm of "Digeridoo." Also here are two early remixes of "We Have Arrived" (credited to "The Mover"), which hint at some of the type of blistering rearranging work he would later do for Nine Inch Nails. Collectors will revel in this disc, and others will simply wonder what just happened to them. Either way, it's worth adding to the shelf.


Born: 18 August 1971 in Limerick, Ireland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Exploring the experimental possibilities inherent in acid and ambience, the two major influences on home-listening techno during the late '80s, Richard D. James' recordings as Aphex Twin brought him more critical praise than any other electronic artist. Though his first major single, "Didgeridoo," was a piece of acid thrash designed to tire dancers during his DJ sets, ambient stylists and critics later took him under their wing for Selected Ambient Works 85-92, a sublime touchstone in the field of...
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Classics, Aphex Twin
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