Aphex Twin classic or Dud?

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whatever, man. one person's dull is another's "banger". Fredugolon 6 is all-time

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Thursday, 11 October 2018 22:24 (one year ago) link

I thought I would have become tired of "Collapse" (track 1), but it's sounds great every time. Can't complain about the last string of eps (Cheetah, ODJS, Collapse) -- both Cheetah and Collapse are *really* consistent.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Thursday, 11 October 2018 22:27 (one year ago) link

FWIW, I just revisited "Drukqs" and did enjoy the "drill'n'bass"-style tracks more than I remember enjoying them back in the day.

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Thursday, 11 October 2018 23:44 (one year ago) link

I don't like the super crazy stuff, I live for the 90s ambient tech / downtempo stuff. extremely wonderful and eternal.

brimstead, Thursday, 11 October 2018 23:54 (one year ago) link

cheetah ep was the closest thing he's done to that in recent years imo

clouds, Friday, 12 October 2018 18:20 (one year ago) link

cheetah ep was the closest thing he's done to that in recent years imo

Agreed. Cheetah e.p. is the best of this 'current era' (it's never clear how old the stuff he's been releasing actually is ... )

Steve Reich In The Afternoon (Against The 80s), Friday, 12 October 2018 18:50 (one year ago) link


El Tomboto, Friday, 12 October 2018 18:59 (one year ago) link

agree with octobeard upthread but then I've been saying exactly this for quite some time now

Scritti Vanilli - The Word Girl You Know It's True (dog latin), Friday, 12 October 2018 19:04 (one year ago) link

"squelchy 303 acid lines layered on top of the same acoustic breakbeats"

― octobeard

This is a terrific generalisation / reduction of the sheer variety of timbres served up (i.e. the dense excess and plasticity of Ziggomatic 17), the use of negative space on "Vordhosbn", the gradual ascension and subsequent dismantling of "Omgyjya Switch 7" -- as well as other highlights, like "54 Cymru Beats", "Meltphace 6" and "Taking Control" ... saying that he used the "same acoustic breakbeats" is a lame dismissal. The percussive timbres (on Drukqs) sound like they're from a variety of sources; many synthesized / electronic-sounding, some acoustic, or electronic sounds amplified and recorded.. and yeah, there are sampled breaks. It doesn't sound like anyone else.

I kept reading the same arguments levied against Drukqs - that the much of the material was received as, or sounded like "leftovers" from previous RDJ experiments... and it just comes off as a lazy interpretation of the material. Maybe people were disappointed, but those tracks sound like further refinements, or a natural progression from ideas presented on the RDJ album, et al.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Friday, 12 October 2018 22:26 (one year ago) link

much of the material was received as, or sounded like "leftovers" from previous RDJ experiments

I mean, it was sort of presented that way, wasn't it?

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Friday, 12 October 2018 22:43 (one year ago) link

Uh no?

brimstead, Saturday, 13 October 2018 04:40 (one year ago) link

Ok true, not “leftovers,” but — “Here’s a bunch of random stuff I was working on, and I’m releasing it in a glut because a left an MP3 player on a plane and I want to beat the pirates.” Expectations were set low, which was appropriate (IMO) b/c the beat-driven tracks aren’t nearly as good as what we had come to expect from him.

I revisited Come to Daddy and Windowlicker today (after revisiting Druqks y’day), and the difference is night & day.

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Saturday, 13 October 2018 05:49 (one year ago) link

i dislike the sugar-sweet eno/roedelius go breakdancing stuff, the lullaby melodies & the pizzicato strings (90s bedroom composers paying homage to glass/reich always came off embarrassingly murray gold / george fenton to me)
so drukqs onwards burbling fusionisms & syro's tangential forward progressions i find far preferable to the ABABcAB structures that seemingly melted the minds of jeff mills acolytes back whenever

massaman gai, Saturday, 13 October 2018 06:15 (one year ago) link

vordhosbn is an incredible track on drukQs and mt st michaels is one of his best most intricate/melodic tracks ever IMO

i always loved that rumour that madonna was braying like a pig on that one track that sounds like being in a gymnasium from hell

Ross, Monday, 15 October 2018 18:31 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

I thought Collapse was good on release, it has grown on me since then.

Uhura Mazda (lukas), Wednesday, 21 November 2018 00:21 (one year ago) link


— Aphex Twin (@AphexTwin) November 22, 2018

groovypanda, Thursday, 22 November 2018 15:05 (one year ago) link

I live in California so the mask in a convenient little case is appealing for next year's fire season.

Uhura Mazda (lukas), Thursday, 22 November 2018 19:03 (one year ago) link

I remember pretending to like Aphex Twin when I was younger, because it was the hip thing to do, and actually genuinely liking individual tracks, but feeling that his run of classic albums was too inconsistent to love. SAW Volume One has two great songs at the start but the rest of it sounds half-baked. The Come to Daddy EP is consistently-good-from-start-to-finish but the actual albums are a mixed bag.

After broadening my tastes a bit I concluded that Squarepusher was a more accomplished musician, Autechre were sonically more inventive, Venetian Snares were more extreme etc. Part of the Aphex Twin's legend is that he achieved maximal results early in his career with terrible equipment - a DJ mixer, a four-track, a reverb unit, the cheapest Yamaha SY etc - but by the late 1990s he had the same resources as everybody else. On the other hand the "legend" wasn't his fault. He went out of his way to avoid publicity, so I never disliked him on a personal level.

But after listening to SAW Volume Two a couple of times I've concluded he really is or was a genius. That album is diverse and consistently interesting. It has an emotional dimension that a lot of glitchy late-1990s/early-2000s Warp / Rephlex music lacks. Autechre et al most went for sublime sheer sonic power but Aphex Twin's best music has a melancholic quality. I always wondered what he'd be like as an old man.

Ashley Pomeroy, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 20:21 (one year ago) link

rest of that early warp stuff sounds dated, afx stands up better than any squarepusher or autechre records of the time.

meaulnes, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 20:27 (one year ago) link

you know i always wondered, if you listen to something and it doesn't sound dated to you, but it sounds dated to other people, does that mean you're dated? or exceptionally fresh, and ahead of the revival curve?

the late great, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 20:36 (one year ago) link

needs an Einsteinian thought experiment

Bound 4 da Remoan (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 20:38 (one year ago) link

Squarepusher definitely feels dated; even Hard Normal Daddy which I'd once thought of as a timeless classic sounds very mired in 90s sound design which hasn't held up so well. Autechre less so, depending on what you're talking about exactly - Incunabula still sounds quite good to my ears though it's obviously easy to place when that record was made

and I do agree that Aphex's most unique/successful trait was his ability to pull together something brilliant out of very little - he's one of the most shining examples of the "restrictions breed creativity" creed. I think that's sort of the "magic" ingredient a lot of people hint at when they talk about how early Aphex was just that much better - he used a lot of gimmicky concepts to limit himself and wound out spinning gold out of them. even though the stuff on ICBYD and the RDJ Album was aped all over the place I don't think anyone really could replicate what he did there. I don't know how many people have the patience or aptitude to create a banging track out of a pencil and a Coke can. conversely maybe that's why his latest stuff is all kinda samey...he's opened up his sound a lot more and all that really occurs for him to do is this super-technical acid funk.

frogbs, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 20:47 (one year ago) link

^Nice post

plant a twee or die (morrisp), Wednesday, 28 November 2018 20:54 (one year ago) link

so weird, 'popcorn' is gone already and 'avril altdelay' says it was uploaded three years ago when you go to the soundcloud page itself

sleeve, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 01:13 (one year ago) link

anyway the other version of 'avril 14th' is still available for DL


sleeve, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 01:14 (one year ago) link

these are all on Discogs now, even


sleeve, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 01:17 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

RDJ playing NY in April but tix are $85 LOLOLOL

calstars, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 20:30 (one year ago) link

and presale tix sold out instantly

dan selzer, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 20:33 (one year ago) link

Brooklyn vegan has another one tomorrow morning I think?

calstars, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 21:21 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

Cool. When I saw him years ago he was just chilling on a loveseat with a laptop while people in bear costumes doofed around.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 13 April 2019 03:07 (one year ago) link

I saw him in 2001 or so and it was pretty slammin’

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Saturday, 13 April 2019 03:29 (one year ago) link

This is a pretty sick set

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Saturday, 13 April 2019 03:46 (one year ago) link

it really is

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Saturday, 13 April 2019 03:47 (one year ago) link

90s Aphex Twin >>>>>>>> 10s Aphex Twin. You had to be there, I guess

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Monday, 15 April 2019 05:43 (one year ago) link


the best bang for the buck out of recent sets imo

lukas, Saturday, 20 April 2019 11:54 (one year ago) link

First 17 minutes or so of this Coachella audience recording is ace - I prefer less-frantic Aphex


equaliser, Sunday, 21 April 2019 11:03 (one year ago) link

The first 2/3 or so of Mexico does get intense, but in a really interesting way I think. It's not just more aggro drill n bass.

lukas, Sunday, 21 April 2019 14:37 (one year ago) link

I went to the Brooklyn show. It ruled.

Allen (etaeoe), Sunday, 21 April 2019 16:06 (one year ago) link

When I got into Aphex Twin late, well into the new millennium, I just torrented RDJ’s entire discography at once, so I did not get the same sense of chronology, of RDJ’s gradual artistic development as people following him at the time in the 1990s did. Now, going through Aphex Twin coverage on Wikipedia, it is interesting to see that Polygon Window’s <i>Surfing on Sine Waves</i> came out only a couple of months after <i>Selected Ambient Works 85–92</i>. In fact, the vast majority of listeners would have got a chance to hear Polygon Window before they ever got to hear <i>Selected Ambient Works 85–92</i>.

Why then does <i>Selected Ambient Works 85–92</i> still have a reputation as sort of the album that started it all? Did <i>Surfing on Sine Waves</i> go particularly unnoticed at the time?

Melomane, Tuesday, 23 April 2019 00:11 (one year ago) link


cheese canopy (map), Tuesday, 23 April 2019 00:28 (one year ago) link

interesting posts about aphex twin here... lovin it

cheese canopy (map), Tuesday, 23 April 2019 00:29 (one year ago) link

seriously, donkey rhubarb remix

brimstead, Tuesday, 23 April 2019 02:17 (one year ago) link

It isn't as good

kraudive, Tuesday, 23 April 2019 08:40 (one year ago) link

Why then does <i>Selected Ambient Works 85–92</i> still have a reputation as sort of the album that started it all? Did <i>Surfing on Sine Waves</i> go particularly unnoticed at the time?

well, like you said, it came out first, it was Aphex's "debut" (and not released under an alias), and it's a better/more significant record

frogbs, Tuesday, 23 April 2019 15:26 (one year ago) link

Sine Waves was the first one I bought because it was in the shops, iirc SAW was import only?

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 23 April 2019 15:29 (one year ago) link

Back in the early 90s many electronic music producers had multiple aliases, and before internet became widespread they were more anonymous than you can imagine today, especially if you didn't read magazines like Mixmag. So it's perfectly possible a lot of people didn't even know Polygon Window was the same dude as Aphex Twin; I certainly didn't make the connection until a few years later.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 23 April 2019 16:10 (one year ago) link

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