Jul 3, 2012

Aphex Twin - Richard D. James Album (1996)


Having gone techno but good then consciously messing his chances at mainstream success with techno for losers and then avant-garde techno for migraines after his Eno for depressives phase, James went avant-garde migraine pop with his Richard D. James Album. I got it when I liked an Animal Collective/Black Dice split and found that the most common complaint was that it sounded like Aphex Twin gone shit. Then Richard D. James Album started playing when I took a trip through Desolace and entered the wonderfully tranquil Feralas for no reason and I got this vibe from 4 that I couldn't believe. THAT VIBE. I like it when Aphex is difficult- he really drills your brain with his drums and noises- but Richard D. James Album has a few pop songs which make it stand out. It's really very sweet. Fingerbib alone would sell me on the whole thing. Whether he went pop for the sake of introspection as the title suggests, or to push electronica into a more generally human area as fans believe, it's certainly human- this sounds corny but every time I hear 4Fingerbib,To Cure A Weakling ChildGoon Gumpas, and Girl/Boy Song I get all warm inside knowing that a) they exist, and b) I've heard them. Even the more difficult tracks often have appealingly odd structures, sweet ambience behind the drums, or unsettling mini-atmospheres like there's a beautiful/sad world behind all the layers and avant-garde showiness. It might just be that he knows when to pair two obvious elements- the sample toward the end of Girl/Boy Song slowing to a close as he continues to aggressively scatter his drums- but that's still worthy of praise. Really though, it's the vibes, however he went about breathing life into various sources, mechanical drums and senseless noises. Fact is there's the life there and I'm gonna stop writing now 'cause that cover is staring right at me

A

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