Aphex Twin classic or Dud?

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Classic. Just on the basis of the Richard D James album, the bloke's a genius. Add to that Surfing On Sine Waves, Windowlicker, Girl/Boy and most of the Selected Ambient Works and the guy's at least a demigod. BoC and Autechre have both done fine stuff but they aren't even fit to step through the door of Mr Twin's bank.

Richard Tunnicliffe, Monday, 15 January 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh, without a doubt classic. He was shitting out stuff in the early nineties which defined the genre by breaking it so often. Edgy, fractious, occasionally twee Ver Twin was where it was at.

You don't need to make a good album to be a classic (I'm not even sure you have to make a good single to be a classic) but Ritchie has certainly made some good albums. And what's this guff about Selected Ambient Works not being a proper album. Glen Campbell's 20 Golden Greats is a proper album, just because its a compilation does not weaken its claim.

Of course that make The Best Of Blur pretty much their best album...

Pete, Monday, 15 January 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Anyone who goes to the trouble of making their own weird space instruments out of whatever they can lay their hands on in order to realise their sonic vision is definitely classic

William Casper, Thursday, 15 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Listening to just one track can answer this.


This is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever. Also digiredoo and analogue bubblebath. Classic, groundbreaking music

Andy, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
Aphex is by far the most versatile, creative and most advanced artist in ALL of Dance/electronic culture, that means every genre thats made with samplers and electronics. IDM is easy to make now , but you wouldnt have said this 6 or 7 years ago. I laugh when people assume theyre just as good as someone like an Aphex, 10 out of 10 times theyll play what theyve done with it and its nothing even close to the genius of Aphex. Now ofcourse everyone has their own opnion about this, but this is mine and generally ya can ask most djs or artists and they'll usually admit that Aphex is in a league almost no one can touch. Everyone from Bowie to Reznor to Bjork and countless dance artists will reckon that fact. I like both Boards of Canada and Autechre, and I as nice as for example BOX is, they dont even come in the total BATTING RANGE of what Aphex has done over the past 11 -12 years or so. Music Has the Right to Children is good , but IMO nothing groundbreaking and the last 4 tune EP "Out in a Beautiful place in The Country" nothing to write home about IMO. Autechre has done some amazing stuff as well, but they sound rather repetitious at times, neither BOC or Autechre have the emotion ridden classics as AFX's "Heliospan", "Girl/boy", "Alberto Balsam", "Peek","Flim", "UZ-US" for example. Personally I think that Plaid/Black Dog kick both Ae and BOC's butts in terms of emotion and the likes in their music. I would like Mr Ludo come up with a Girl/Boy track for example, if yer so good, then put yer samples online bro.. Aphex is still King of all......

PostModernVancouver, Monday, 12 March 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Definitely classic - though his cohorts Autechre and Boards of canada are good too.

I'm good too

charlie frame, Wednesday, 14 March 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Strange enough I find Autechre to be the most emotional of the IDM (aaarghh I've said okay, I.D.M.) artists. They have a fairly unique way of going for childlike melancholy without using the sounds of the 70s itself a la Boards of Canada (love em too). It's more like the sound nostalgia makes. It's a bit hard to explain but you hear it best on the 1st album and "Amber". Unlike much of Mr. James later output, for instance that irritating fartknocking "jungle" on "Richard James" album. Which is a pity because he had that emotional touch up to "I Care...".

Omar, Thursday, 15 March 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

this Man are king of free minding music and thinking.I llicke that Man!

vinsents krebs, Tuesday, 27 March 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Aphex Twin deserves more credit than he's given. For me, it's the sound of 'england dreaming', a contemporary embodiment of our eccentricity, more evocative of the Britain I experienced in the 90's than the indie commentary (Divine Comedy/ Babybird). Listen to 'Cornish Acid' on Richard. D James for the quintessential 'english' whimsy- seaside towns, Martin Parr, provincial backwaters. (A suggestion for an artist who's speaking more directly, i.e. vocals, samples, try Martin - Male Caucasian, but unfortunately this'll date like a Blue Peter annual.) Folk music for the digital pastures that've been uncovered in the past decade, he's as vague and indistinct as the new avenues we find ourselves on.

Despite the rictus grin there's is a genuine warmth and humour to his music, though I'll admit that, like many Warp artists, the emotional communication is indirect, showing us how to feel, as opposed to telling us what to feel. But that's fine, it's not as if they're even trying to tell us a story. Concequently this kind of music has a greater resonance with me. But then what what distinguishes him from his contempories? Well, he's survived every micro-genre he invented, reacted to and re- developed his own back catalogue - he replied to ambient with Ambient Vol 2, Drill n Bass with the classical hybrids of Richard D. James, then stirred the already stagnant electronica scene with Windowlicker, which I'm sure could hold it's own in any ILM pop league. Still a genius, even with his head firmly up his own arse.

Did you know AFX has been corresponding with Beck for months about producing the Beck's album. It fell apart cause neither were prepared to record outside their own studio. I dunno, but that would have been fun.

K-reg, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

i agree. be sure to not refer to beck as 'the beck' on your top forty list though.

ethan, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

basically, just agreeing with everything k-reg said. i like the martin parr comparison in particular. always been taken with the ruralism in aphex. richard.d.james album always seems like a cousin of nick drake's bryter layter.

but i'm glad the aphex/beck thing didn't happen. even aphex couldn't make beck good.

oh, and to answer the question, classic, obviously

gareth, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Just wait until Robin gets ahold of that "provincial backwaters" thing that K-Reg said.

Patrick, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah? So? I've met K-reg and I could tell instantly he meant it in good spirit. It's the sarcastic mockery of certain other contributors that I can't take. I'm quite happy being in a geographical backwater as long as I'm not in a cultural one.

The Parr comparison applies for sure, but not as explicitly as it does with BoC's "Concourse" and "M9" (but then how could it?).

Aphex is classic, of course. I actually used to see him as a model for making a virtue of geographical isolation as a means of artistically refining yourself, so it's appropriate that K-reg said that. I think "Richard D. James Album" is his best work, as well, whereas FWIW I think "Bryter Layter" is Drake's weakest.

Robin Carmody, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

three months pass...
If Richard D. James doesn't impress you, Ludo, then who the hell does??????!!!!

Sam Garcia, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Apropos of nothing: "Audax Powder" on the Polygon Window's Surfing On Sine Waves: The windows are down, I'm going to pick up my baby, my paycheck is still warm and I've had 7 gimlets. And we live inside Tron.

Sasha Frere-Jones (Sasha Frere-Jones), Sunday, 11 May 2003 20:26 (sixteen years ago) link

Fair enough, Autechre and Plaid are more focused in their visions and make arguably better music, but they would be nothing, absolutely nothing without Aphex. Aphex is a starting point, if you like his complexity, then get into Autechre; is maniacal evilness, listen to Boards of Canada; for his melodic brilliance, Plaid are highly recommended. But it is always worth listening to and revering RDJ as the pioneering force behind this music.

dog latin (dog latin), Monday, 12 May 2003 00:58 (sixteen years ago) link

This is interesting because I have been obsessed with "electronic" music since I was about 10 years old but then I stopped listening to it for years. I thought I'd get back into it by seeking out the guy everyone was talking about, The Aphex Twin. So a few years back I bought "Selected Ambient Works 85-92" - listened to it a few times and thought, "blah". I found it totally bland and uninteresting and it wasn't doing anything I hadn't heard hundred times before. But I am willing to give the guy another go because I think he must have talent for people to be so fanatical about him.

Dadaismus (Dada), Monday, 12 May 2003 10:56 (sixteen years ago) link

I think this thread has my first evah post on ILX (I think my opinions on eelctronic have changed quite a bit since then).

dada- you should get selected ambient works vol II. I heard the first disc of that last evening. its really wonderful 'ambient' stuff. great to read books with.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:00 (sixteen years ago) link

neither classic nor dud - just hugely overrated.

I think the general feeling on Aphex Twin is surely that he makes far better videos than records.

Most of his stuff is doodly nonsense..... some unlistenable, some rather good. Much of it sounds like he's making it up as he goes along.

russ t, Monday, 12 May 2003 11:06 (sixteen years ago) link

great to read books with.

-- Julio Desouza (juli...), May 12th, 2003.

Julio: "Once upon a time there was a little bear named Pooh..."

SAW V.2: "Who lived in the House At Pooh Corner..."

Julio: "One day Pooh's friend Piglet came round for tea, and said to Pooh-"

SAW V.2: "'Come on you cunt let's have some of that Aphex Acid!!!!'"

Nick Southall (Nick Southall), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:08 (sixteen years ago) link

Most of his stuff is doodly nonsense..... some unlistenable, some rather good. Much of it sounds like he's making it up as he goes along.

I like doodly nonsense, I like unlistenable, I like "making it up as he goes along" - someone direct me to the doodly unlistenable shit he makes up as he's going along.

Dadaismus (Dada), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:09 (sixteen years ago) link

classic. for the ambient records especially. the more drum'n'bass-y ones don't do it for me quite as much, but then i'm not really into drum'n'bass. i feel like i'm on rocky territory if i start calling him a genius, as i'd feel i have to give reasons other than the beauty of the music. and that's all that matters, really.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:09 (sixteen years ago) link

yeah that's spot on nick.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:09 (sixteen years ago) link

I like those jungle inspired recs. its not all good but some amazing tracks came out of that. also search windowlicker and come to daddy singles.

I think SAW II + I think there's enuff to make a wonderful two CD 'best of'.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 12 May 2003 11:13 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
classic,and not just because i own 7 of his albums.I really do believe he is a classic if only for SAWII and "I care..."those two cd's are possibly my faveorite albums ever and underneath fall my boc albums and then the rest of my aphex twin collection.I am interested in autecher and squarepusher but I haven't gotten into them because I'm afraid i'll like them and that'll be another artist to follow and spend my money on....oh and I do like underground stuff too,donato wharton's "is that why yr still on earth" is breathtaking and makes me cry everytime i hear it...

Caleb, Tuesday, 10 August 2004 02:00 (fifteen years ago) link

"I haven't gotten into them because I'm afraid i'll like them and that'll be another artist to follow and spend my money on"


roxymuzak (roxymuzak), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 02:04 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm a fan.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 12:55 (fifteen years ago) link

"I haven't gotten into them because I'm afraid i'll like them and that'll be another artist to follow and spend my money on"

This actually makes perfect sense to me. I used to have to deal with this. (Not just because of the $ factor, but also because it takes me a long time to "absorb" new material, and I get ansy when there's stuff piling up that I'm really itching to soak up, but haven't been able to give my full attention to.)

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 15:46 (fifteen years ago) link

What's up with RDJ these days, anyway? All the big Aphex websites seem to be defunct or otherwise non-operational...

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 15:52 (fifteen years ago) link

probably getting fat and making music he will never show to anyone, ever.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 16:16 (fifteen years ago) link

He should hang out with D'Angelo.

Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 17:22 (fifteen years ago) link

he did a good interview with the wire a few months back. did anybody mention that?

peter smith (plsmith), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 17:28 (fifteen years ago) link

I noticed that interview, but I have nowhere to buy the Wire. (And I figured it would end up eventually on the "watmm.com" website.) What did he have to say?

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 17:48 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
what is this?

:| (....), Tuesday, 14 September 2004 19:20 (fifteen years ago) link

Anal lord, eh?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 14 September 2004 19:22 (fifteen years ago) link

maybe he's picked up some new hobbies?

latebloomer (latebloomer), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 12:14 (fifteen years ago) link

according to luke vibert, aphex has been fully analogue for a while and this is the result

Barnaby (Barnaby), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 13:20 (fifteen years ago) link

probably getting fat and making music he will never show to anyone, ever.

If that's the plan, he was smart to grow the beard early.

What's the story behind Melodies from Mars?

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 14:55 (fifteen years ago) link

here's what Mike Paradinas (aka µ-Ziq) says about it:

Luke played me some of the hundreds of tracks earmarked for this Analord series and they are beautiful. More like SOSW* & CW**. But really good clear production. Lots of acid lines, but also a lot of melody & pads... Mostly analog(ue): 303, 606, 808, 909 and his collection of synths (a nice bit of chunky doepfer acid) but a few with breaks too.

* Surfing On Sine Waves
** Caustic Window

Melodies From Mars is rumored to be a demo that he sent to video game companies for them to use in their games. in any case they're probably just outtakes from the RDJ album period since a longer version of Fingerbib is on it.

joseph pot (STINKOR™), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 20:53 (fifteen years ago) link

Aphex Twin? Neither classic nor dud. Yes the guy has some absolutely insanely awesome tunes ("Come to Daddy"! "Windowlicker"! "Pacman Powerpill"! "On"!), but he has like three times as many sucky ones as he does good ones. Does anybody out there really like GAK? Or Hangable Auto Bulb? Or almost every song on the boring-as-hell Analogue Bubblebath series?

Mr. Snrub, Thursday, 16 September 2004 03:04 (fifteen years ago) link

what? hangable auto bulb is amazing. ARCHED MAID VIA RDJ.

cutty (mcutt), Thursday, 16 September 2004 03:07 (fifteen years ago) link

Have there been earlier releases in this series already? This is number 10? (And why is it under "2001releases" in the URL?)

morris pavilion (samjeff), Thursday, 16 September 2004 18:38 (fifteen years ago) link



morris pavilion (samjeff), Thursday, 16 September 2004 18:41 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Supermodels Tyra Banks and Richard D. James:


Lingbertt, Wednesday, 21 September 2005 18:35 (fourteen years ago) link

holy shit thats UNCANNY

capnkickass (gloriagaynor), Wednesday, 21 September 2005 18:50 (fourteen years ago) link


Palomino (Palomino), Wednesday, 21 September 2005 19:30 (fourteen years ago) link

who is that?

Christopher Costello (CGC), Wednesday, 21 September 2005 19:31 (fourteen years ago) link

two years pass...

Aphex sucks. Their style is weak.

CaptainLorax, Thursday, 25 October 2007 15:28 (twelve years ago) link

they broke up last year

am0n, Thursday, 25 October 2007 15:36 (twelve years ago) link

Surfing on Sine Waves was stickered saying it was Aphex Twin.

stirmonster, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 03:05 (nine months ago) link

I feel like more time passed than is apparent. At least from the states perspective....the timeframe between the release of SAW and it's press/hype, and the eventual us wax trax/tvt release of Surfing felt like a different era to me.

dan selzer, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 03:14 (nine months ago) link

Surfing on Sine Waves was stickered saying it was Aphex Twin

in the US, too? (Dan?)

(it's a moot point re this thread bcz Josh knew anyway, I'm just curious)

blokes you can't rust (sic), Wednesday, 24 April 2019 09:10 (nine months ago) link

It's been a looooong time, but while I *knew* that Polygon Window was Aphex Twin, I really don't remember it stickered as such. I just thought it was a side project of sorts, and tried to determine how it was different from the "real" thing. I did know about Aphex Twin beforehand, but I'm not sure what I'd heard of his, if anything, so I must have based my purchase on a review I read somewhere (The Wire?). I'm not sure when I first saw SAW in the shops here, but I know I didn't feel like paying $30 or whatever for it on CD. I don't think I heard SAW until after the release of SAWII, but again, it's been a looooooong time.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 11:59 (nine months ago) link

I don't know if the US version was stickered. The album was very heavily promoted and written about here in the UK and "Quoth" had already been a very big club hit. Not sure The Wire would have covered it though - i can't recall if they had quite got to this kind of thing yet by that point.

stirmonster, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 12:32 (nine months ago) link

also, the track "polygon window" was on warp's artificial intelligence compilation which had been a big deal.

visiting, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 14:52 (nine months ago) link

As memory serves this stuff was coming out fast and furious as soon as labels like TVT started distributing. There was like a backlog that kept hitting the shelves. At the school paper I remember being excited every time something from TBT arrived, even though it was often forgettable stuff like Rise Robots Rise iirc.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 15:08 (nine months ago) link

TVT, whoops.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 15:33 (nine months ago) link

My memory is that SAW and SAWII received a wider critical reception, had better distribution and had generally remained widely available. Surfing On Sine Waves, stop me if I'm wrong, actually went out of circulation at some point, and while not rare exactly, was a bit trickier to find... the early AFX and Caustic Window records were somewhat similar in that respect. I don't remember people not realising that it was all being produced by Richard James at the time, at least in my circle of DJ friends.

MikoMcha, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 15:42 (nine months ago) link

“It’s these people called Aphex Twins” 😭 pic.twitter.com/G6aygIiaFL

— arj (@shempiii) April 27, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 27 April 2019 19:04 (nine months ago) link

Great retrospective SAWII review by Sherburne: https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/aphex-twin-selected-ambient-works-volume-ii/

blokes you can't rust (sic), Sunday, 5 May 2019 21:27 (nine months ago) link

It was a great piece, provides lots of context.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 5 May 2019 21:40 (nine months ago) link

trying not to take the bait on that rating

but everybody calls me, (lukas), Sunday, 5 May 2019 22:20 (nine months ago) link

what sort of maniac reads a numerical rating on a record review

blokes you can't rust (sic), Sunday, 5 May 2019 23:08 (nine months ago) link

Good piece. (I think the album deserves a 10, if any album does...)

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Monday, 6 May 2019 00:22 (nine months ago) link

two months pass...

in the unlikely event anyone wants Collapse but doesn’t have it, send me a webmail and i’ll send you a download code

but everybody calls me, (lukas), Monday, 15 July 2019 22:00 (seven months ago) link

three months pass...

damn this paul nagle song "the enchanted garden" sounds really close to whimsical mid-period aphex stuff like "cuckoo", "donkey rhubard", "fingerbib", etc, just without the beats (fast forward to around 5:10)


brimstead, Friday, 1 November 2019 01:18 (three months ago) link


yeah, definitely not too far off from a lot of that aphex influenced 95-05 stuff


djdirtbagstyle, Friday, 1 November 2019 05:59 (three months ago) link

try again


djdirtbagstyle, Friday, 1 November 2019 06:00 (three months ago) link

God that first Jega album is such a winner. Bangers and beauties.

octobeard, Friday, 1 November 2019 22:12 (three months ago) link

Hell yeah


recommend his Variance LP too

this DN is a little on-the-nose at times

lost IDM classics (lukas), Monday, 11 November 2019 18:03 (three months ago) link


recent clip of Aphex with a live singer

lost IDM classics (lukas), Tuesday, 12 November 2019 19:11 (three months ago) link

(typical photographer)

koogs, Wednesday, 13 November 2019 13:50 (three months ago) link

three weeks pass...


can't believe its taken me so long to notice this

frogbs, Monday, 9 December 2019 04:40 (two months ago) link

What’s the one on the left?

Frozen II Outtakes Playlist (morrisp), Monday, 9 December 2019 04:47 (two months ago) link

Magnetic Fields by Jean-Michel Jarre

I doubt RDJ is much of a fan which makes this funnier tbh

frogbs, Monday, 9 December 2019 04:55 (two months ago) link

Do you think it's intentional or just a random coincidence? Seems pretty coincidental to me, besides having a closeup of the artist's face on a white background (which is hardly uncommon), the covers aren't that similar: Jarre shows 1/2 of a face, Aphex has 3/4; Jarre is shot from a straight angle and shows only the face + a bit of neck, Aphex is shot from slightly above and shows some shoulder as well; Jarre includes the artist name and album title, Aphex doesn't.

Tuomas, Monday, 9 December 2019 13:01 (two months ago) link

sorry, these look nothing alike

Paul Ponzi, Monday, 9 December 2019 13:03 (two months ago) link


YOU CALL THIS JOURNALSIM? (dog latin), Monday, 9 December 2019 13:09 (two months ago) link

tough crowd

The Pingularity (ledge), Monday, 9 December 2019 14:00 (two months ago) link

I don't know if it's intentional or not though I'd imagine he definitely knows who JMJ is

Seems pretty coincidental to me, besides having a closeup of the artist's face on a white background (which is hardly uncommon)

for instrumental electronic music I think it's pretty uncommon! though obviously RDJ is pretty willing to do it

frogbs, Monday, 9 December 2019 14:35 (two months ago) link

alright listen you little shits

frogbs, Monday, 9 December 2019 14:35 (two months ago) link

Magnetic Fields

It's Les chants magnétiques, not Les champs magnétiques, except of course 'chants' and 'champs' are homophones in French.

I agree with the others that Afx's pose probably isn't a callback but I like the speculation.

pomenitul, Monday, 9 December 2019 14:39 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Brilliant as ever. Visuals no slouch either. https://youtu.be/961uG4Ixg_Y

Pyschocandles, Friday, 3 January 2020 01:02 (one month ago) link

WTF @ 2/3 of Smojphace (which I just listened to for the first time and which will probably be the last thing I ever hear now that my eardrums have been thoroughly scoured)

I don't 'do' memes but if I did this would be a great candidate for the 'Lou Reed: (records Metal Machine Music); RDJ: Hold my beer.' treatment.

Pizza is Really Yummy for Me (Old Lunch), Monday, 13 January 2020 20:14 (one month ago) link

since it's my thread, i am gonna vouch for Ovuca - Onclements, which is great and I've been listening to it all week (and it's on Rephlex so semi-on topic)

Ludo, Monday, 13 January 2020 20:50 (one month ago) link

it's amazing how consistently good these dj(+live?) sets are xxpost

lukas, Monday, 13 January 2020 21:09 (one month ago) link

I think those Smojphace tracks are supposed to be fed through a visualiser thingy

doorstep jetski (dog latin), Monday, 13 January 2020 21:35 (one month ago) link

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