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numbs
Jul 20, 2013

by XyloJW


Hi, I've lurked around for some time now and just noticed that there's not an Aphex Twin thread! How could such a musical genius not have an SA thread?!

Aphex Twin is an Irish-born British electronic musician and composer. He founded the record label Rephlex Records in 1991. He has been described by The Guardian as "the most inventive and influential figure in contemporary electronic music". He's has also recorded music under the aliases AFX, Blue Calx, Bradley Strider, Caustic Window, Smojphace, GAK, Martin Tressider, Polygon Window, Power-Pill, Q-Chastic, Tahnaiya Russell, The Diceman, The Tuss, and Soit-P.P.

Let's dive into what his music sounds like for all of you future Aphex fanboys out there.

This song name is "4". It's on his Richard D. James album, released in 1996. This song really defines how he likes to play with drums.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iiK4MgIPtI

Enjoy that? Check this out. This song's name is "Flim" and I'd consider it to be one of Twin's most popular songs. It really signifies, like "4", his love for playing with drums. It's an overall very chill song and you'll find yourself jammin' out to it later.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiZEto2j2GQ

Flim is a very chill song, but is nothing compared to this masterpiece, "Alberto Balsalm". This track brings smooth chords left and right, and just flows.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWW68sPxcpM

Aphex Twin goes all over all kinds of musical spectrums throughout his albums, and is a highly influential artist ranging from days back into 1992, when he released his first album, "Selected Ambient Works 85-92". New sounds and new styles were brought into this world with this album and Twin has managed to bring new sounds and styles with every album he's released. If you'd like to start indulging in his music, I'd recommend listening to his album Drukqs to really get a feel for his style. Then, I'd recommend checking out Richard D. James Ablum, then I Care Because You Do. You can choose what to listen to afterwards. Also, keep in mind, once you listen to all of his music, you can go check out all of his aliases mentioned earlier in this post! Woo for Aphex Twin!

----------------
This thread brought to you by a tremendous dickhead!

numbs fucked around with this message at Jul 26, 2013 around 17:34

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o.m. 94
Nov 23, 2009



RDJ album came out in 1996! It's light-years ahead of its time!

Here's a Phillip Glass orchestration of the mighty Icct Hedral.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIuSLczfn6U

numbs
Jul 20, 2013

by XyloJW


oiseaux morts 1994 posted:

RDJ album came out in 1996! It's light-years ahead of its time!

Here's a Phillip Glass orchestration of the mighty Icct Hedral.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIuSLczfn6U
According to Spotify it came out in 2005! That's where I got that info.

Stravinsky
May 31, 2011



numbs posted:

According to Spotify it came out in 2005! That's where I got that info.



Spotify gets its dates wrong constantly. Once it claimed to me Bitches Brew was released in 2013.

numbs
Jul 20, 2013

by XyloJW


Stravinsky posted:

Spotify gets its dates wrong constantly. Once it claimed to me Bitches Brew was released in 2013.

Interesting. I'll update the OP. So what do you know about Aphex Twin?

NonzeroCircle
Apr 12, 2010



I used to live on the same street as him, curiously quiet! He likes to use local Cornish town/place names such as the Redruth Mix of Girl/Boy, or 'Mt Saint Michel Mix + Saint Michaels Mount', and makes the majority of his music on analogue gear rather than DAWs. The 'Analord' series of releases was made entirely out-the-box in this fashion.

I'm also gonna be 'that guy' and post his two Chris Cunningham videos, the kinda harsh poo poo that a lot of people will instantly identify with him (both fairly ):

http://www.youtube.com/BBMq0hiff9w Windowlicker (absolutely NWS!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-9UvrLyj3k

That weird noise towards the end of Windowlicker is a picture of his face run through a spectograph and converted into sound. You are listening to his face. Marvellous stuff!

NonzeroCircle fucked around with this message at Jul 20, 2013 around 19:01

Floodixor
Aug 22, 2003

Forums Electronic MusiciaBRRRIIINGYIPYIPYIPYIP

I feel like Aphex Twin/RDJ is a common access point for more boundary-pushing music for a lot of beginning electronic music listeners. He has a high enough profile to where most electronic music fans have heard of him, but when you really explore his total works you find some fascinating (and often challenging) content in the b-sides and rarities (or even just his most well-known albums). Many people I know who were fans of more pedestrian electronic music have been introduced into more unique and experimental styles via Aphex Twin.

He really does do a remarkable thing with his composition. Aside from having the skill of making actual catchy melodies (which isn't to say simple melodies - many of his arrangements are actually quite complex and show a strong depth of music composition knowledge, as evident with the link a few posts above of the string section performing an Aphex Twin song), he can also fold that melody inside a structure of very non-traditional, at times practically schizophrenic beats and sounds. He branches out from the standard 4x4 beat (though doesn't abandon it completely, like with his selected ambient works vol. 1 album and the standout opening track Xtal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nevnq7MvVTI ) and really explores taking risks sonically that not too many other producers were doing at the time. But I know that anyone reading this thread and has even a passing interest in Aphex Twin already knows this very well.

What I mean is that he's an example of someone coming from a niche genre into the public eye via being more accessible but also very much indebted to the roots of that same genre. You could use Trent Reznor as a good example of this - he came from the industrial camp (or synth-pop, etc, whatever you'd like to classify Pretty Hate Machine as) but also was very adept at writing hooks and not alienating the common listener. The Downward Spiral is a terrific album in my opinion and while it definitely owes a lot to the industrial music aesthetic, Reznor also made industrial a bit easier to swallow and subsequently was more or less embraced by pop culture ("pop" music isn't a pejorative, in my opinion - it's just an acknowledgement that it's simply popular, by definition). So you can have a song like the popular "Closer", which has all sorts of dirty synth melodies and mechanical beats (which for the most part wouldn't be the type of thing heard on most radio stations at the time) but also combined with catchy hooks. Obviously the chorus of "I want to gently caress you like an animal" added to the public's reaction to it as even more of an edge-case or spectacle than it already was, but audio-wise it achieved what a lot of NIN's catalogue does and does well - takes the industrial sound and makes it more inviting for listeners who may not have initially explored that genre. And whether or not you appreciate that, it definitely takes finesse and tact to accomplish it.

Anyway, Aphex Twin does the same thing, though I personally think he takes WAY more chances compared to someone like Trent Reznor (though as they've done the sort of accessibility trick, they have by no coincidence also crossed over into each other's work, like the Aphex Twin NIN remixes/original songs that Richard D. James has made for NIN). So when the casual listener finds an accessible track from Aphex Twin, it can really lead to a way more "down the rabbit hole" process for them and I really appreciate that about Aphex Twin.

As another poster has said in this thread, Aphex Twin also pulls off the impressive feat of making a "timeless" album. Upon its release, an album like I Care Because You Do or, even moreso, The Richard D. James Album simply had no peers. Nothing else sounded like it. But it wasn't just unique for the sake of being unique - there are really great melodies on those albums, too. A lot of them are, even with their risks and sometimes-bizarre beat structures, simply very good songs. It's why Aphex Twin is one of those people that is in a league of their own, and why he's respected by many other musicians both included in the same electronic genre but also outside of it, too. It's because of that genre-spanning accessibility. It's because for all of his intellect involved in his song compositions, he also has that "rock star" fodder of things like living in a bank vault, owning a tank, and being a recluse, among other things. But even though all of these things assist in him being a very popular and respected musician, he's never been afraid of the consequences of alienating listeners either - he still makes things like the song "Come To Daddy" (and certainly also the associated music video), and I love that about him. He walks this strange line of becoming popular but not "selling out" and sacrificing his style for the sake of getting famous and moving units. His story is intriguing to me because he got recognized and taken in for the most part by popular culture but was mostly very weird the whole time, which makes his story an enigma.

Sorry for this wall of text - I've had a lot of espresso this morning and didn't plan on it being this long. Thanks if you didn't tl;dr this and please discuss anything you agree with or think I'm barking up the wrong tree or getting it totally wrong. And thanks to the OP for an Aphex Twin thread - it had been a little while since the last one.

NonzeroCircle
Apr 12, 2010



Floodixor, that's a hell of a post! I think his reclusiveness combined with the hyper-exaggerated face gives him a very 'cool' image that draws people in; I think Daft Punk and Deadmau5's masks are probably the only other examples in contemporary electronic music that have such a strong visual identity- as RDJ himself said, it was a response to faceless techno.

I find his honesty/bullshit dichotomy fascinating too: "I'm just some irritating, lying, ginger kid from Cornwall who should have been locked up in some youth detention centre. I just managed to escape and blag it into music."
Without wishing to get too romantic over it all, his catalogue, particularly the early stuff, is a very fitting soundtrack to the crags and open spaces of Cornwall, and is certainly the product of someone who grew up isolated from the 'real world', where the only things to do are get hosed up and listen to/create music, it's proper outsider stuff, and whilst many artists on Warp share certain traits, there's a pastoral vibe to his music that is hard to recreate.

numbs
Jul 20, 2013

by XyloJW


Floodixor posted:

I feel like Aphex Twin/RDJ is a common access point for more boundary-pushing music for a lot of beginning electronic music listeners. He has a high enough profile to where most electronic music fans have heard of him, but when you really explore his total works you find some fascinating (and often challenging) content in the b-sides and rarities (or even just his most well-known albums). Many people I know who were fans of more pedestrian electronic music have been introduced into more unique and experimental styles via Aphex Twin.

He really does do a remarkable thing with his composition. Aside from having the skill of making actual catchy melodies (which isn't to say simple melodies - many of his arrangements are actually quite complex and show a strong depth of music composition knowledge, as evident with the link a few posts above of the string section performing an Aphex Twin song), he can also fold that melody inside a structure of very non-traditional, at times practically schizophrenic beats and sounds. He branches out from the standard 4x4 beat (though doesn't abandon it completely, like with his selected ambient works vol. 1 album and the standout opening track Xtal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nevnq7MvVTI ) and really explores taking risks sonically that not too many other producers were doing at the time. But I know that anyone reading this thread and has even a passing interest in Aphex Twin already knows this very well.

What I mean is that he's an example of someone coming from a niche genre into the public eye via being more accessible but also very much indebted to the roots of that same genre. You could use Trent Reznor as a good example of this - he came from the industrial camp (or synth-pop, etc, whatever you'd like to classify Pretty Hate Machine as) but also was very adept at writing hooks and not alienating the common listener. The Downward Spiral is a terrific album in my opinion and while it definitely owes a lot to the industrial music aesthetic, Reznor also made industrial a bit easier to swallow and subsequently was more or less embraced by pop culture ("pop" music isn't a pejorative, in my opinion - it's just an acknowledgement that it's simply popular, by definition). So you can have a song like the popular "Closer", which has all sorts of dirty synth melodies and mechanical beats (which for the most part wouldn't be the type of thing heard on most radio stations at the time) but also combined with catchy hooks. Obviously the chorus of "I want to gently caress you like an animal" added to the public's reaction to it as even more of an edge-case or spectacle than it already was, but audio-wise it achieved what a lot of NIN's catalogue does and does well - takes the industrial sound and makes it more inviting for listeners who may not have initially explored that genre. And whether or not you appreciate that, it definitely takes finesse and tact to accomplish it.

Anyway, Aphex Twin does the same thing, though I personally think he takes WAY more chances compared to someone like Trent Reznor (though as they've done the sort of accessibility trick, they have by no coincidence also crossed over into each other's work, like the Aphex Twin NIN remixes/original songs that Richard D. James has made for NIN). So when the casual listener finds an accessible track from Aphex Twin, it can really lead to a way more "down the rabbit hole" process for them and I really appreciate that about Aphex Twin.

As another poster has said in this thread, Aphex Twin also pulls off the impressive feat of making a "timeless" album. Upon its release, an album like I Care Because You Do or, even moreso, The Richard D. James Album simply had no peers. Nothing else sounded like it. But it wasn't just unique for the sake of being unique - there are really great melodies on those albums, too. A lot of them are, even with their risks and sometimes-bizarre beat structures, simply very good songs. It's why Aphex Twin is one of those people that is in a league of their own, and why he's respected by many other musicians both included in the same electronic genre but also outside of it, too. It's because of that genre-spanning accessibility. It's because for all of his intellect involved in his song compositions, he also has that "rock star" fodder of things like living in a bank vault, owning a tank, and being a recluse, among other things. But even though all of these things assist in him being a very popular and respected musician, he's never been afraid of the consequences of alienating listeners either - he still makes things like the song "Come To Daddy" (and certainly also the associated music video), and I love that about him. He walks this strange line of becoming popular but not "selling out" and sacrificing his style for the sake of getting famous and moving units. His story is intriguing to me because he got recognized and taken in for the most part by popular culture but was mostly very weird the whole time, which makes his story an enigma.

Sorry for this wall of text - I've had a lot of espresso this morning and didn't plan on it being this long. Thanks if you didn't tl;dr this and please discuss anything you agree with or think I'm barking up the wrong tree or getting it totally wrong. And thanks to the OP for an Aphex Twin thread - it had been a little while since the last one.

And I previously thought I knew a lot about him! Thanks for all of this info man!

Rageaholic Monkey
May 31, 2005

And in the dream I knew that he was goin' on ahead and he was fixin' to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold, and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up...

Great thread, though even though I read the title, I was hoping this would be about a new album from him

One of my favorite ambient songs of all time is Rhubarb, from SAW2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVvjXJentik

I even recorded my own little homage/cover of it years ago. (This was like the second or third song I ever recorded in my life.)

And anytime I talk about Rhubarb, I have to bring up this classical guitar cover, which is one of my favorite covers of all time:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4hQG-XTVa4

Alberto Balsalm, Xtal and Film have already been mentioned. Those are a couple of my other favorite songs of his. But let's not forget one of his best piano tracks, Avril 14th!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfYl6_f2Mdg

And one of my favorites from his more abrasive side:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqTKOq8DmWU

Really, he's one of the first electronic artists I got really into, and one of the artists that made me want to try my hand at making electronic music of my own, so I'll always love him and respect him. Even though his discography is massive and intimidating and I don't like it all, there's still a lot to love for newcomers. So don't let his body of work scare you!

edit: Oh, and I forgot another one of my favorites from SAW: Aegiespolis.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfdPkM_VDVQ

Rageaholic Monkey fucked around with this message at Jul 20, 2013 around 21:41

Stravinsky
May 31, 2011



Anyone have any idea if it was ever clarified if The Tuss was actually him or not? Lately it seems a lot of people are pretty adament that its actually a couple who live near him, but prior to that everyone was claiming that it was just a cover.

Stravinsky
May 31, 2011



numbs posted:

Interesting. I'll update the OP. So what do you know about Aphex Twin?

Richard James is one of those people who essentially invent the genre they are in. Much like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Elvis Presley and Mozart, while they didn't found the genre in which they worked in they essentially shaped and defined it. Floodixor hit it on the head when he associated boundary pushing with Aphex. And every twist and turn you can find where he has done something at the time where just about no one else was doing and would go on to influence others. His Richard D. James Album was years ahead of its time. Girl/Boy Song with its a mixture of odd syncopated drum work and strong string work (along with the childlike sounds of a glockenspiel) wouldn't really come back until 9 years later with Venetian Snares' Rossz Csillag Alatt Született.



That track to me is the very essence of Selected Ambient Works 85–92. And maybe his work as a whole. It does so much right. It pushes the boundaries while not being alienating. Its also a light work. I really can not think of anything that he has done that I would describe as dark. If you bring up Come To Daddy, I would just like to point out that it was made to pretty much take the piss out of metal. The fact that it ended up being as good as it was is a testament to how skilled he really is. I really do not want to retread ground, so let me just say I pretty much agree with Floodixor. There is one thing I do want to talk about, and its Drukqs.

I honestly think that Drukqs is probably one of his weakest releases. Not to say that its bad or not worth listening to. It sounds like an album that Richard really wanted to do and spent a lot of time and effort on. However I feel like there is little substance to it. It suspect it may come from the fact that by the time I listened to the album, I was already familiar with a lot of the techniques and styles used on it. A lot of it feels like songs that would of been on previous albums and retreaded ground. While others, especially those featuring prepared pianos in them, just sound like he is aping people like John Cage a little to much. Kladfvgbung Micshk:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eEGGLa1GQk to me is a good example of this. I just feel like I have heard things like this a million times already and by the time this came around I felt that while well done, it was kinda stale. Like I said, I fear this may just be my own personal experience. So if anyone has some they want to say to tell me that I am an idiot I welcome them to do so.

TOOT BOOT
May 25, 2010



I just realized how long it's been since he's released something substantial.

Lord Krangdar
Oct 23, 2007

These are the secrets of death we teach.


I recently became a huge fan of Autechre, and I know Aphex Twin influenced them a lot. I've liked a lot of his songs I've heard but never really delved too far into all his many releases under different names. From what I have heard the stuff from his other pseudonyms was more interesting than his main albums. So anyway where's a good place for me to bridge over from Autechre to Aphex, and does anyone know more about the relationship between those two?

EDIT- Also I've been wondering, does anyone know why the two volumes of "Selected Ambient Works" were named together when they're so different from each other?

Lord Krangdar fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2013 around 02:13

o.m. 94
Nov 23, 2009



Well, I was gonna write an epic but posts from Floodixor & Strav have said everything that needs to be said.

This guy is a total auto-didactic techno wizard who has commanded everything from noise to ambient under his hood for well over 20 years. I have loved, and subsequently unloved so many musical acts in my time, yet Aphex Twin is still today a musician I revere with total unflinching admiration. Here we have a borderline autistic Cornish kid with a vision for electronic music that will never be surpassed. His precocious, scatalogical yet informed take on music will reverberate thru the halls of time. I don't even flinch when people make comparisons to Motzart because they are true. There are no words to describe his precocious, childlike genius

Fingerbib is probably the best thing he's ever done

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kO6poDbsv0

Here's an AFX joint on Analogue Bubblebath 5 he released, that is one of his strongest. It's the strings that get me every time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ovJQ86bR9E

dead56k
Sep 23, 2009

the seduction of america's youth

Lord Krangdar posted:

I recently became a huge fan of Autechre, and I know Aphex Twin influenced them a lot. I've liked a lot of his songs I've heard but never really delved too far into all his many releases under different names. From what I have heard the stuff from his other pseudonyms was more interesting than his main albums. So anyway where's a good place for me to bridge over from Autechre to Aphex, and does anyone know more about the relationship between those two?

EDIT- Also I've been wondering, does anyone know why the two volumes of "Selected Ambient Works" were named together when they're so different from each other?

i feel like i read in some interview that richard d. james is NOT a fan of Autechre

shmee
Jun 24, 2005



Rageaholic Monkey posted:

And anytime I talk about Rhubarb, I have to bring up this classical guitar cover, which is one of my favorite covers of all time:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4hQG-XTVa4

Alarm Will Sound did a whole album of Aphex Twin covers, and it's pretty amazing. They are basically a modern chamber orchestra but their covers are surprisingly faithful to the originals:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP_w_Mvh9tU

Edit: The album is called "Acoustica: Alarm Will Sound performs Aphex Twin".

shmee fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2013 around 02:21

o.m. 94
Nov 23, 2009



Lord Krangdar posted:

I recently became a huge fan of Autechre, and I know Aphex Twin influenced them a lot. I've liked a lot of his songs I've heard but never really delved too far into all his many releases under different names. From what I have heard the stuff from his other pseudonyms was more interesting than his main albums. So anyway where's a good place for me to bridge over from Autechre to Aphex, and does anyone know more about the relationship between those two?

Despite being labelmates I think there's not much one owes to the other. Autechre was always about the hard-edged techno, hip-hop and grafiti vibe of urban Manchester; later colliding with the German schools from Stockhausen to Shulzche to create a techno-concrete. Aphex on the other hand is a rugged, innocent, ruralisation of acid techno that just takes precedent from any quarter. Aphex treats his sound less than Autechre, who are wont to completely erase any reference point ("Bine" from Confield being a classic example, a Dockstadian nightmare techno inversion that lacks the human element that Aphex Twin would agree on). Meanwhile Aphex Twin will do a collaboration with Phillip Glass and produce a ridiculous operatic nightmare like Icct Hedral just because, y'know, he can. His work is more personal and intimate and dare I say, "hand-crafted" than Autechre but to be honest both groups are ridiculously awe-inspiring.

o.m. 94 fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2013 around 02:21

o.m. 94
Nov 23, 2009



dead56k posted:

i feel like i read in some interview that richard d. james is NOT a fan of Autechre

Absolutely not true, they've been labelmates for over 20 years and are good friends.

dead56k
Sep 23, 2009

the seduction of america's youth

oiseaux morts 1994 posted:

Absolutely not true, they've been labelmates for over 20 years and are good friends.

whoops. ah, it is squarepusher that supposedly doesn't like Autechre.

I remembered it having something to do with aphex twin; he mentions this in an interview:

http://www.aphextwin.nu/images/inte...ew_by_heiko.pdf

Lord Krangdar
Oct 23, 2007

These are the secrets of death we teach.


oiseaux morts 1994 posted:

Despite being labelmates I think there's not much one owes to the other. Autechre was always about the hard-edged techno, hip-hop and grafiti vibe of urban Manchester; later colliding with the German schools from Stockhausen to Shulzche to create a techno-concrete. Aphex on the other hand is a rugged, innocent, ruralisation of acid techno that just takes precedent from any quarter. Aphex treats his sound less than Autechre, who are wont to completely erase any reference point ("Bine" from Confield being a classic example, a Dockstadian nightmare techno inversion that lacks the human element that Aphex Twin would agree on). Meanwhile Aphex Twin will do a collaboration with Phillip Glass and produce a ridiculous operatic nightmare like Icct Hedral just because, y'know, he can. His work is more personal and intimate and dare I say, "hand-crafted" than Autechre but to be honest both groups are ridiculously awe-inspiring.

Okay, thanks for the clarification.

Speaking of Icct Hedral, why is the album version called Icct Hedral(edit)? Did it come before or after that Phillip Glass one?

AlphaXires
Jun 28, 2013


I guess this opinion is ubiquitously shared, but I feel that he's the "big" name in electronic music. If you're going to get into electronic and don't just want hardstyle or tech house exclusively, you go to him. I guess it's because he's so versatile with what he does and doesn't have a predetermined comfort zone. I really enjoy his ambient work, but his IDM, Glitch, and drum and bass are my favorites. On a related note, does anybody know what the hell "drill and bass" is? Anyone?

Gamma Nerd
May 14, 2012


Great thread, you guys totally hit the nail on the head about RDJ being a huge innovator in electronic music as a whole. He definitely plays with his public persona in a theatrical way similar to lots of metal artists, and I think that's had a positive impact on the way his music has spread and is perceived (though there are lots of people under the mistaken impression that he only does the abrasive Come to Daddy/Windowlicker stuff)

Stravinsky posted:

I honestly think that Drukqs is probably one of his weakest releases. Not to say that its bad or not worth listening to. It sounds like an album that Richard really wanted to do and spent a lot of time and effort on. However I feel like there is little substance to it.

I appreciate it in the same way I do Exai - as a collection of tracks rather than an album. Stuff like Mt. Saint Michel Mix is unparalleled in electronic music, drops my jaw reliably with the drum programming 3 minutes in, and really that's all I'm asking for.

Not sure how Come to Daddy is taking the piss out of metal. Maybe I'm just dense. I'd like to think that RDJ appreciates the potential of metal rather than just seeing it as crude, childish abrasive stuff. But hey, he's definitely entitled to his own opinions.

Periodiko
Jan 30, 2005
Uh.

AlphaXires posted:

I guess this opinion is ubiquitously shared, but I feel that he's the "big" name in electronic music. If you're going to get into electronic and don't just want hardstyle or tech house exclusively, you go to him. I guess it's because he's so versatile with what he does and doesn't have a predetermined comfort zone. I really enjoy his ambient work, but his IDM, Glitch, and drum and bass are my favorites. On a related note, does anybody know what the hell "drill and bass" is? Anyone?

Drum and bass where the drum tracks are arranged with a lot of unnatural patterns like rushes in 256th notes so that it sounds less like drums and more like glitching machinery or noise. Basically, more abstract and electronic drum and bass.

shmee
Jun 24, 2005



Gamma Nerd posted:

I appreciate it in the same way I do Exai - as a collection of tracks rather than an album. Stuff like Mt. Saint Michel Mix is unparalleled in electronic music, drops my jaw reliably with the drum programming 3 minutes in, and really that's all I'm asking for.

This would make sense if his explanation of it being a bunch of songs he accidentally left on an mp3 player on a bus (or something like that) so he released it before it got bootlegged is true.

We need more talk about the 'Analord' series, as it was amazing. And apparently Wikipedia says that new stuff from those sessions was being issued on Rephlex Records (3.5 years ago) which I never knew about and will now have to download.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBBuhtg7amg

NonzeroCircle posted:

[He] makes the majority of his music on analogue gear rather than DAWs. The 'Analord' series of releases was made entirely out-the-box in this fashion.

Do you have more information about this. I remember reading about how he used a lot of old and notoriously difficult to program equipment on the 'Analord' releases, but know little else about it and pretty ignorant about all that sort of kit.

shmee fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2013 around 04:38

o.m. 94
Nov 23, 2009



I'm fairly certain RDJ just uses whatever tools he has available and there's probably no defacto workstream, but until about 1996 he was using primarily analogue equipment for the sequencing of his music. I got some sequencing software on his Mac at some point in the mid 90s, and you can hear the switch to "digital" by comparing the analogue glow of I Care Because You Do versus the intricate, harsh digital presence on RDJ album. He's used computers primarily since although presumably the Analord series is almost exclusively orchestrated using analogue or at least dedicated hardware.

Regarding that interview re: Squarepusher and Autechre, remember that this is the same interview where he claims all his mates were trying to get off with Kylie Minogue, grabbing her in a dodgy club and that she was apparently into it. He tells more porkies than any artist I've ever seen, so it's worth taking anything he says with a pinch of salt. Total prankster.

quote:

Anyone have any idea if it was ever clarified if The Tuss was actually him or not? Lately it seems a lot of people are pretty adament that its actually a couple who live near him, but prior to that everyone was claiming that it was just a cover.

The copyright for The Tuss songs on the PRS website are attributed to one JAMES, RICHARD D. Case closed!

quote:

Also I've been wondering, does anyone know why the two volumes of "Selected Ambient Works" were named together when they're so different from each other?

Well the second record is clearly ambient music. The first album gets the name because the music is ambient techno (a genre he basically invented, or at least became the biggest proponent of). Ambient techno is basically techno music infused with tropes from ambient music - lush pads and airy leads, judicious use of reverb, delay and space in general, formless atmospherics, etc. At its most basic - like putting a techno beat over an Eno track.

o.m. 94 fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2013 around 12:35

Mutation
Jun 21, 2007

MTV MTV MTV


shmee posted:

This would make sense if his explanation of it being a bunch of songs he accidentally left on an mp3 player on a bus (or something like that) so he released it before it got bootlegged is true.

We need more talk about the 'Analord' series, as it was amazing. And apparently Wikipedia says that new stuff from those sessions was being issued on Rephlex Records (3.5 years ago) which I never knew about and will now have to download.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBBuhtg7amg
The Analord series is by far my favorite release of his. There was a long stretch of time where the first thing I would listen to each day was Phonatacid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hNGhU1nbL8

AlphaXires
Jun 28, 2013


Periodiko posted:

Drum and bass where the drum tracks are arranged with a lot of unnatural patterns like rushes in 256th notes so that it sounds less like drums and more like glitching machinery or noise. Basically, more abstract and electronic drum and bass.

Thanks. I assumed it was basically breakcore with heavier bass and sub-bass lines, but having the same breakbeat speed.

Floodixor
Aug 22, 2003

Forums Electronic MusiciaBRRRIIINGYIPYIPYIPYIP

Stravinsky posted:

let me just say I pretty much agree with Floodixor. There is one thing I do want to talk about, and its Drukqs.


Good call. Drukqs seems to be a very polarizing album with a lot of people, and for practical reasons. The very idea of saying that from the Richard D. James Album and I Care Because You Do, people had gotten "used to the Aphex Twin style" and were a little disarmed when Drukqs came out is pretty weird to even consider, IMO, because of the huge amount of exploration and risks he takes in general. It's like the "Aphex Twin sound" is defined by the very fact that it IS unpredictable. Oh, and my quote above sounds like I'm saying that you said that, which I don't mean - just that it's one of the reasons I hear when people criticize Drukqs.

Nevertheless, Drukqs WAS the anticipated follow-up to two very significant and widely positively-received Aphex Twin albums. There were a lot of expectations riding on it, just like when a band puts out an amazing album and everyone holds their breath for the following album, and it almost always pans out two ways: one group doesn't like the album because it's not more of the same of the previous music that made them a fan in the first place, and the other group appreciates the new things that a band might be attempting to avoid becoming stale or predictable. But it's a tricky position and almost completely impossible to satisfy absolutely every listener.

But this isn't a Coldplay releasing a new album that has maybe more of a rock and roll sound or more jazzy sound - the Aphex Twin world is more complicated than that. Drukqs was a natural nod towards RDJ's classical leanings - there are very direct solo piano compositions interspersed in the whole album, far more of an assertive display of that style than "well now there are two piano ballads on the new album" or "the songs seem to be using a little more piano on this album". For some listeners who were expecting a double-album of Boy/Girl Songs or Come To Daddys, they probably weren't in love with this new, softer side of RDJ.

Not that the album completely abandons the more traditional (and for lack of a better word, just plain weird) style that Aphex Twin listeners may be accustomed to. I do feel that there is enough material like that on Drukqs to satisfy the type of listener expecting that style. My bigger issue with Drukqs isn't the juxtaposition of piano interludes included with the more scattered, frantic beats (I actually really enjoy how it staggers up the flow of the album, since Aphex Twin should be, at times, anything but a comforting listen). It's not that I thought he was going soft or a discontentment with him not cranking out 20 tracks of songs exactly like his previous two albums showcased. At the end of the day, I just don't think the songs are that great.

Unfortunately, despite a musician's best intentions, a double album is often seriously hard to pull off in a way where it is the indisputable truth that there are so many amazing songs that there would be no way to just make a single album, that the musician HAD to release a double album to accommodate all of the brilliant songs that were pouring out of them. It's hard to make a double album that appears to have been a double album by necessity. I feel the same about Drukqs - it's a little bloated and I'm not sure two album's worth of content was exactly justified.

EDIT: I forgot to originally include this, but I feel like a good comparison here is The Smashing Pumpkin's Mellon Collie double album. Not just that it was another example of a double album that maybe didn't deserve two discs of material and may have been a much tighter single release with some tactful editing (I know it's disputable though - every album has its' supporters), but that with the Smashing Pumpkins in particular they had such a substantial and huge library of b-sides and unreleased material. They were able to release their box set The Aeroplane Flies High and have it all actually be, for the most part, really good. I feel the same about Aphex Twin - he released what some would consider a spread-too-thin double album but he also happens to have a lot of very different sides and sounds to him, which can be quite rewarding if one decides to go mining for b-sides, rare tracks, etc.

On the other hand, if it weren't a double album, it wouldn't have been able to be arranged in the same way that also makes Druqks so identifiable - those strange, spastic Aphex Twin songs with wild beats and odd time signatures, etc, put in the same sandbox as far more traditional piano compositions. As said, I'm a fan of how the two play together and I like the reprieve that that structure offers. But when it's crunch time and Aphex Twin steps up to deliver more of those bizarre, wonderful songs that put him on the map years ago, I just don't think they're all strong results. Maybe it's that double-album syndrome of being spread too thin, or maybe I'm missing an aspect of it and am, in fact, one of those people that wanted more Boy/Girl Songs. It's just not totally my cup of tea and I was, honestly, underwhelmed when Druqks was released. I know other people who love the album, of course.

My favorite aspect of Druqks, though, is the injection of RDJ's piano pieces. I think most people are able to tell that underneath a lot of his seemingly-chaotic songs, there is a very skilled display of musical composition at work. Sometimes his songs might sound like a drum machine in a trash compactor, but they're almost always not dumb songs, and they're not abrasive for just the sake of being abrasive. He knows his way around a melody (especially piano) and I enjoyed him nakedly displaying it. Maybe, in a way, he's showing off. I don't care, though - by the time Drukqs was released, he had earned the right to show off a little. The piano pieces aren't all particularly brilliant, but they're definitely given an extra push of merit (to me) just by their chosen juxtaposition between RDJ's more frantic songs. The context of those piano pieces is a big selling factor to me.

That said, I will almost certainly gravitate to The RDJ Album or I Care Because You Do over Druqks on any day.

Floodixor fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2013 around 17:51

numbs
Jul 20, 2013

by XyloJW


Here's the entire Analord series if anyone would like to check it out! I haven't heard it before, so thanks so much for bringing it up!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlpLK_HnItg

Extra
May 19, 2013



oiseaux morts 1994 posted:

a genre he basically invented, or at least became the biggest proponent of


I really feel like The Black Dog are sort of pushed under the rug often but early Aphex Twin and The Black Dog kind of go together like peanut butter and jelly.

For a few examples:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BYlQW68l4w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SOYf--jEvM (1990)

I find it hard to draw the line at ambient house (which there is quite a bit of in the late 80s) vs techno but try not to worry about it too much. Where the (early) Aphex sound has a more rave sort of feel to it what differentiates it so much from say 808 State I'm not entirely sure. Maybe someone with my knowledge can shed some light on the subject. I don't think CJ Bolland when I hear 808 State. That said In Yer Face is quite a far cry from Pacific State so, much like Aphex Twin, it's often wonderful to see the broad range of electronic music these producers can manage.

Extra fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2013 around 23:07

Constipated
Nov 25, 2009

Gotta make that money man its still the same now


I want to thank everyone who has contributed stuff in this thread. I first got into a few Aphex Twin songs last year, like Flim, Alberto Balsalm, Halibut Acid, Phontacid.. I've had his full discography downloaded for quite some time now and just haven't ever gotten around to listening to all of it. I'm not really into much electronic stuff, at ALL, but after listening to the stuff I mentioned above, I was immediately in love with this guy. I had never heard anything like his music before. All the electronic music I had heard before AT seemed cold, too repetitive.

Fingerbib and xtal are definitely some new favorites I'd really appreciate more recommendations, the more obscure the better, because I have barely scratched the surface of his work.

Gamma Nerd
May 14, 2012


Constipated posted:

Fingerbib and xtal are definitely some new favorites I'd really appreciate more recommendations, the more obscure the better, because I have barely scratched the surface of his work.

4, Mookid, and Cow Cud is a Twin all have a warm, nostalgic vibe to them that I love. Great tracks.

HauntedRobot
Jun 22, 2002

an excellent mod
a simple map to my heart
now give me tilt shift

Maybe because it's quite a straightforward track but one track that never gets enough mention is On http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-US91WU8zA

Ork of Fiction
Jul 22, 2013


Periodiko posted:

Drum and bass where the drum tracks are arranged with a lot of unnatural patterns like rushes in 256th notes so that it sounds less like drums and more like glitching machinery or noise. Basically, more abstract and electronic drum and bass.

Drill was sort of a pit-stop genre tag for an evolving thing (like all categories of experimental electronic music.) There were like maybe 7 guys who ever made quantities of it in any semi-popular context (RDJ, Squarepusher, Plug, Bogdan Raczynski, The Flashbulb, Wisp, and Hrvatski all come to mind.) But, for sure, the defining aspect was the use of tonal-frequency percussion, where the drum rushes would hit at such fast rate that they could be either rhythm or melody. Straight up Amen fetishism, commonly aggressive and digital, but it can be lush as well, as demonstrated by Luke Vibert on his Plug releases. Honestly, it's almost like the capability to be warmer and more organic is what differentiates it from Breakcore, in an ideological way.

Gamma Nerd
May 14, 2012


HauntedRobot posted:

Maybe because it's quite a straightforward track but one track that never gets enough mention is On http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-US91WU8zA

The u-ziq remix is better in my opinion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVdekN2OZzE

Ork of Fiction
Jul 22, 2013


Gamma Nerd posted:

The u-ziq remix...

Oh, man! Egg on my face. I forgot mu-ziq.
His Kid Spatula releases where quintessential Drill'n'Bass.

bef
Mar 2, 2010



His latest stuff is (imo) his best work to date

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0YyBp8ZyeE

which makes it even worse that he hasn't put anything out in forever.

Mutation
Jun 21, 2007

MTV MTV MTV


HauntedRobot posted:

Maybe because it's quite a straightforward track but one track that never gets enough mention is On http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-US91WU8zA
It's a good track, but man, sampling thunder?

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Dissapointed Owl
Jan 30, 2008

You wrote me a letter,
and this is how it went:


numbs posted:

Here's the entire Analord series if anyone would like to check it out! I haven't heard it before, so thanks so much for bringing it up!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlpLK_HnItg

I absolutely adore the entirety of the Analord series, personal favorites being 'Where's your girlfriend?' and 'Crying In Your Face'.

This is it. This is the year I pay over 300 GBP to get that ridiculous Analord boxset.

e: Never mind, that poo poo is about 500 GBP for the full set these days. Oh well.

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