1 Jan 2004

Aphex Twin

down the rabbit hole past acid and electronica...

noise textures and other supposedly illegal substances

Aphex Twin, also known as AFX, Polygon Window, Caustic Window, GAK, Blue Calx or PCP, is currently located in Cornwall, England, but was originally born as Richard D James in Ireland. His launch into the music industry was in 1993, when the record label Warp noticed him among EFA, R&S and Apollo releases with Digeridoo and Selected Ambient Works 85-92. They allowed him to release On (remixes) and his critically acclaimed Selected Ambient Works Vol. II.

After this and a successful American spreading with Sire, he created his next full length album, I care because you do which married the soft melodies of Selected ambient works vol. II to his previously used, harsher hardcore beats. This often also included other mildly arresting or abrasive noises, such as in the song Ventolin where an on holding high pitch supposedly resembles the noise asthmatics experience before losing consciousness.

Meanwhile, his own record label Rephlex tried to promote obscure and esoteric artists who were known to deliver DJ sets with sandpaper on turntables and an entire ensembles of self-built synthesisers and other random noise creators. Some of these lucky chosen ones include Soundmurderer and Kerrier District.

In 1995 he released the Richard D James Album which had very clear drum 'n' bass influences in its varied rhythm sections, but still maintained Aphex Twin's characteristic soundscapes and scattered noises. The EPs Windowlicker and Come to daddy continued in exploring the drum 'n' bass genre, albeit experimentally.

Windowlicker and Come to daddy were occasionally said to be the proof that Richard D James was running out of creativity, but it was also the material director Chris Cunningham used to create some of the most controversial and beautiful music videos of the nineties. James, now quiet on his own album front, instead created a score to go with Cunningham's Flex film.

James only returned to his own albums in 2001 with drukqs, which was a bit of a disappointment to many of Aphex Twin's fans, as was his appropriately titled 26 mixes for cash of 2003. It all led to suggest what have once been acid-laced sound dreams, had now become acid-eaten.