Aphex Twin, aka, Richard James is the original electronic artist. He's DJ'd from the top of Mount Fuji all the way to the Dead Sea, paving the way for today's mainstream dance/electronica acts such as Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Radiohead. In the five years since his last full album, his profile has risen exponentially on the U.S., largely due to video exposure on MTV for "Come To Daddy" and "Windowlicker." drukqs is perhaps his most "acccessible" work to date, exciting not only his hardcore fans, but bringing in new fans through the raves this album is receiving in the press. Often proclaimed as electronica's one true genius, Richard James, a.k.a. Aphex Twin, returns with a double CD that showcases his cleverness as well as his inevitable inscrutability. Still, amid macabre birthday songs, unsettling screams, and other bizarre touches, Drukqs offers the most technically accomplished and beautiful tracks of Aphex Twin's career. Every aspect of the Aphex brain is on display here, from stark pieces performed on sampled piano and zither to Squarepusher-styled drum & bass implosions, all informed by that peculiar Aphex treatment of bittersweet melody and unparalleled programming. For an artist once engrossed in homages to his dead twin brother and grotesque videos, Drukqs shows James getting by purely on music alone. "Mt. Saint Michel Mix" starts as maddening drum & bass, but is soon transfixed by glowing tones, hand drums, and police sirens. "Vordhosbn" is all acid beats and mad synths matched with fart-bombs and haunted cries. "54 Cymru Beats" sounds more like the tweaked-out, goofball techno of Wagon Christ than Aphex, while "Taking Control" goes metaphysical with cerebral synth-drums and muddled vocals. If Drukqs is the result of medication James has been imbibing during his three-year hiatus, then this is indeed better living through chemistry. Regardless, his music is still as beautiful and frothy as ever. --Ken Micallef
Manufacturer: Sire / Warp Records
Brand: APHEX TWIN
An album that may not quite be about himself, but takes careful note of who he just might be. There is childhood and memory and personal geography simmering under the beats and bleats of this LP. The fact that James used more discretion than ever in assembling the tracks might confirm there is indeed a method to his madness on this one. Some hidden revelations, perhaps, hidden in those grooves? Surf on the serene summery toy train ride of "Fore Street," or search the paedo n' bass recorder group sounds of the mesmerizing "To Cure A Weakling Child." The shining moment, though, just may lie in the chamber orchestra n' bass extravaganza "Girl/Boy Son." Could this album be the autobiographical Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Insect /Citizen James we've all been waiting for? "It's more of a progression," is what he says about the album. "I'm getting more skillful with the machines." If techno ever does become the sound of young America, don't expect Richard James to be its poster boy, deserving though he may be. A native of Cornwall, England, James is obsessed with the mechanics of music making: As a kid, he took apart and reassembled the living room piano. Under the names Aphex Twin, Polygon Window, AFX, and other aliases too numerous to mention, he showed that he could make entire tracks with the sounds produced by tapping on a Coke can. Like the indie rockers of yore, he revels in his marginality because of the creative freedom it gives him. His full-length U.S. debut, Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1994), includes some of the most serene sounds this side of the Orb, but his favorite hobby is the not-at-all-blissful pastime of driving a Daimler Ferret Mark 3 tank through his parents' backyard. None of his recordings have captured the competing impulses to lull you to sleep and blast out your eardrums as well as Richard D. James, his third and best album. As the title indicates, James has turned inward for inspiration, painting aural pictures of real and imagined scenes from his west country childhood. "Goongu...
Vinyl LP repressing of this 1996 album. In a career full of brilliant, groundbreaking music, the Richard D. James Album remains Aphex Twin s drill n bass masterpiece. It was James s fourth and most widely popular full-length to date upon its original release, and reinvented the artist as a commanding influence on like-minded groups such as Radiohead who were tiring of the guitar / bass / drums format. Moving even further away from his ambient and acid house beginnings, the album matches James s trademark fragile, slow-moving melodies with harsh, quick breakbeats. When it was released, fellow electronic artists such as Orbital and Underworld had just begun to filter moderate amounts of drum n bass in their work, but the Richard D. James Album was more extreme than virtually all jungle at the time. The album continues to gain high marks from music critics, ranking 40th on Pitchfork s Top 100 Albums of the 1990s and 55th on NME s Top 100 Albums of All Time. A peculiar and personal work, the Richard D. James Album is a modern classic which offers the same thrill on the first listen as the hundredth.
13 TRACKS: 1) A. Speak To Me, B. Breathe In The Air (Feat. Sluggy Ranks) 2) On The Run 3) Time (Feat. Corey Harris & Ranking Joe) 4) The Great Gig In The Sky (Feat. Kirsty Rock) 5) Money (Feat. Gary Nesta Pine & Dollarman) 6) Us And Them (Feat. Frankie Paul) 7) Any Colour You Like 8) Brain Damage (Feat. Dr. Israel) 9) Eclipse (Feat. The Meditations) 10) Time Version 11) Great Dub In The Sky 12) Step It Pon The Rastaman Scene (Feat. Ranking Joe) 13) Any Dub You Like Talk about high concept: this project features the house band of noted New York reggae label Easy Star covering Pink Floydâ€™s Dark Side of the Moon in the same sequence and in recognizable but reggae fashion. Here, the All Stars turn Floydâ€™s strangely surreal world even stranger and more surreal, adorning the English bandâ€™s dark psychedelic music with slow reggae beats and head-spinning dub-style production that is both inspired and effective. "Money" opens with the sound of bong hits and coughing instead of the cash register, then grooves to a reggae beat as guitar and organ churn out the classic riff--thereâ€™s even the signatory sax break in the middle. The group hits it just right on "Great Gig In The Sky," retaining the soaring gospel voice, while the remake of the chiming bells on "Time" reveals a bit of irreverent humor. Tearing away at the alienation of the original, this infusion of new personality makes it all work, elevating the albumâ€™s concept from the half-baked to visionary. --Tad Hendrickson
U.S. pressing of the debut album from this British Electronic/Dubstep act consisting of Daniel Stephens and Joseph Ray plus vocalist Alana Watson. Nero are best known for producing Dubstep, Drum 'n' Bass and House. Their #1 hit 'Promises' was one of the UK's biggest selling singles of 2011.