Posts Tagged With: AFX

Cheetah EP – Aphex Twin

Since the surprise upload and subsequent take down of hundreds of tracks to Soundcloud, the fate of Richard D. James’ music has been in question. It seems though that Richard D. James has opted to instead refine some of these tracks into more cohesive forms, one such release being the new ‘Cheetah‘ EP, released under the moniker of Aphex Twin. This latest EP offers various versions and mixes of the CHEETAH track, as well as a couple of versions of CIRKLON which originally appeared on ‘Syro‘ in 2014 (although in true Richard D. James form, barely recognisable from their counterparts and each other).

There’s an almost hypnotic and entrancing element to ‘Cheetah‘, which slowly pulses along, dragging the listener into the enigmatic world that only James can create. Anchored mostly by two versions of CHEETAH and two versions of CIRKLON (divided by two brief interludes of CHEETAH), we see James reinterpreting his own work in a variety of different ways, drawing out different concepts and ideas through its presentation. It’s perhaps less urgent and intimidating than some of his other releases, showing more restraint in his approach, though an underlying notion of tension and worry seems to anchor much of the EP together. Those perhaps looking for continuations of some of James’ much earlier works will not find much on ‘Cheetah‘, but those who enjoy simply seeing whatever the hell it is that James’ can conjure up next, as well as just how different his various mixes of his own tracks sound, will find the EP to no doubt be an interesting and intriguing release, and one that perhaps stands comfortably alongside his already varied discography.

It’s in ‘Cheetah’s more reserved tones that we find the main strengths of the EP release itself. It’s seems to be more of an improvement on both ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2′ and ‘Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-08’ released under the moniker of AFX, which both showed a more experimental side to James’ music, but seemed less cohesive and structured. On ‘Cheetah‘, there is a much more comfortable flow, even with the brief interlude of two slightly more experimental tracks. Once again, we’re shown more of James’ incredibly vast sonic palette, with each new release being delightfully unpredictable.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • CHEETAH2 [Ld Spectrum]
  • CHEETAH7b
  • CIRKLON3 [Колхозная mix ]
  • CIRKLON 1

Aphex Twin’s latest EP ‘Cheetah’ is out now.

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Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 – Aphex Twin

Following on from the release of the extraordinary ‘Syro’, Richard D. James offers up another release under the Aphex Twin moniker, ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2′. The new releases comprises some of James’ most experimental electronic tracks, all of which cover a wide range of styles and of very varying length. The new EP seems to come across as a little bonus for those who enjoyed the release of ‘Syro’ so much, though it’s offering seems to be in a much different vein to the comeback album of last year. There’s some enjoyable elements to the EP, though this doesn’t seem to be Richard D. James at his best.

‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2’ seems to follow different paths to its predecessor, and instead shows us a much different slant to Richard D. James and his approach to composition. Much of the album is dominated by short tracks lasting less than a minute, each showcasing an experimental style in terms of what can be achieved through the use of computers. There’s many enjoyable elements to the EP, though it’s successes don’t seem to be achieved though one cohesively structured musical experience. At times, ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2′ seems to be quite a challenge to listen through, and one that doesn’t seem to offer as much enjoyment as some of James’ previous experimental notions. There is great amount of talent here, though not as glaringly obvious as some of James’ best work.

Those expecting a true follow up to last year’s ‘Syro’ might find ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2’ to be a rather disappointing release. There’s some great tracks being presented by the talented artist, though it doesn’t seem to quite reach the same heights as one might be expecting. Those going into the EP with a mindset that allows for the sheer amount of experimentation being presented might find the EP to be a very enjoyable release. There’s some great ideas being presented here, and some little hints and snippets of great techniques, ones that could hopefully evolve into fully-formed tracks that will surely astound and amaze.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Selected Songs:

  • diskhat ALL prepared1mixed 13
  • piano un1 arpej
  • disk prep calrec2 barn dance [slo]
  • hat5c 0001 rec-4

Aphex Twin’s latest release ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt.2’ is out now.

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Syro – Aphex Twin

After the appearance of previously unreleased Richard D. James’ albums earlier this year, buzz regarding the electronic musician was created, rekindling the flame of wanting more music. Richard D. James seems to have obliged his fans, releasing this first full-length studio album in over 13 years under the Aphex Twin moniker, titled ‘Syro’. The new album reveals another chapter in the electronic music created by James, sounding somewhat similar to previous releases, whilst also offering something new and interesting. It’s an incredible album experience, offering us something a little unexpected, but ultimately satisfying.

At times, ‘Syro’ feels a little bit like an echo of early Richard D. James’ material, perhaps calling back to the early days of ‘Analogue Bubblebath’ or the single release of ‘Windowlicker’. Whilst these echoes are scattered amongst the album, it feels as though the whole crux of the album is something new from the musician. In a world where electronic dub-step dominates the current music scene, Richard D. James shows us what electronic music is really all about, offering us an incredible electric mix of processed beats and synthetic elements, all coming together in an incredibly cohesive and remarkably understandable way. Everything feels fresh and new, showing us even more of what James is capable of as an electronic musician.

Even amongst the hype of a release that’s 13 years following its predecessor, ‘Syro’ feels like an incredible album experience. The album is littered with surprised and unexpected twists and turns, giving it an entertaining and satisfying feel. Even at roughly an hour in length, the whole effort works wonderfully, with there being no weak tracks featured on the album. It’s arguable that the album is perhaps a step above its  2001 predecessor ‘drukqs’. ‘Syro’ feels much fresher and somehow a more enjoyable album experience, that’s perhaps not as inaccessible as some of the music we’ve heard from Richard D. James in the past.

‘Syro’ is a welcome return for Richard D. James, who seems to have settled back into his role of being an electronic music with remarkable comfort and ease. There’s a lot of unexpected elements to ‘Syro’, which keeps its listeners on its toes, and then blows them away with the inclusion of some very unusual tracks (in terms of what one would expect from Richard D. James of course). It’s hard not to enjoy ‘Syro’, which perhaps might not be the album fans were expecting, but still comes across as one that is incredible, enjoyable and very rewarding in its own right. ‘Syro’ is certainly a stand-out album under the Aphex Twin moniker, and we can only hope this is the beginning of new things for Richard D. James.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★★ 5/5

Selected Songs:

  • Minipops 67 (Source Field Mix)
  • XMAS_EVET10 (Thanaton3 Mix)
  • CIRCLONT6A (Syrobonkus Mix)
  • Aisatsana

Aphex Twin’s sixth studio album ‘Syro’ is set for release on 19th September 2014.

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Caustic Window LP – Caustic Window (1994)

Richard D. James’ 1994 album ‘Caustic Window LP’ has found its way into the hands of his loyal fans, after originally being an incredibly limited vinyl release many years ago. 20 years on, fans of the Caustic Window project can now hear and enjoy the first LP under the moniker, featuring an incredible mix of IDM tracks. ‘Caustic Window LP’ is certainly an interesting record, showcasing much of Richard D. James’ incredible electronic music style, much of which we’ve come to know from his many releases, and others which are perhaps a bit of a surprise.

The Caustic Window project demonstrates other traits and properties that differ from some of Richard D. James’ other more well known releases, though still retain some of the qualities we know from the musician. The whole LP demonstrates some interesting ideas, showcasing some brilliant tracks that just command themselves with effortless ease. There’s a wide range of offering from the ‘Caustic Window LP’ which demonstrates a number of different qualities, ideas and styles as it navigates across its rather long track list. For the most part it’s a very strong release, containing some of Richard D. James’ best recordings and ideas from his whole career. Some ideas are to be expected from the art

Whilst there’s a lot to enjoy from ‘Caustic Window LP’, there’s a number of elements present on the album that makes it a rather challenging listen. Richard D. James’ slant of IDM music has always been incredibly powerful and unique, though it is never an accessible listen when we consider most of the musician’s releases. ‘Caustic Window LP’ doesn’t come across as any different in this respect, and demonstrates some very harsh elements that really challenge the listener. Those perhaps expecting ‘Caustic Window LP’ to sound like a typical Aphex Twin album might be a little disappointed with the results here, but those who are pleases with the emergence of a rather rare Richard D. James’ release will surely find something to enjoy here.

‘Caustic Window LP’ might not come across as one of Richard D. James’ best releases in his whole career, but it is perhaps one of his most interesting, and perhaps one of his best after his material under Aphex Twin. The interesting range of styles demonstrated on ‘Caustic Window LP’ suggests that the musician is capable of even more than what he has releases in his incredibly lucrative career. Considering the release dates back to 1994, there is no real indication of whether anything demonstrated on the album will emerge elsewhere on future recordings, but it’s certainly interesting to see it being demonstrated in the first place.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Flutey
  • Jazzphase
  • 101 Rainbows (Ambient Mix)
  • Cunt

Caustic Windows’ 1994 release of ‘Caustic Window LP’ is out now (technically)

 

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