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Today we’re gonna talk about the release of one of the titans in electronic music. It’s the IDM heavy-weight Aphex Twin. Recently, I was claiming that the latest releases in electronic music demonstrate its decay over its development, especially due to the fact that the genre has not been represented by something interesting and significant during the last couple of years. However, in reality we’ve already seen an array of really great electronic releases including the albums of Dance with the Dead, Yves Tumor and now Aphex Twin. So, long story short – it’s one of the most important electronic albums of nowadays and if you’ve never heard about it or even worse, never heard it, you’ll definitely want to check it out and here’s why.

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Let’s start with a brief background, as usual. If you’ve never heard of Aphex Twin for some reason, I’d like to tell you that you need to listen to a couple of his first albums in order to figure out who he is and what is his music about. Especially, you need to pick something between his first three albums (or all of them) because I really consider them the best in his music career.

As for his name, which is a nickname of course, his real name Richard D. James, and you should know about him the following: he became one of the most influential avant-gardist electronic musicians of the 1990s. That’s because of his 3 first albums, mentioned previously. On the contrary, I cannot say that I really enjoyed his latest releases because I’ve found them rather dull and somewhat boring to my taste. That’s why prior to listening to this album I was not expecting much from the current release, as well.

It’s necessary to know that it’s really hard to say something solid about the album’s conceptual framework and/or its message or meaning because Aphex Twin mostly releases fully instrumental music with some minor inclusion of vocal samples. Nonetheless, it’s also worth mentioning that every one of his tracks contains too many details, sounds, structures and samples so that any inclusion of vocals will be really redundant.

There are 5 music tracks lasting for almost half an hour. All of them create an atmosphere of an adventure or a journey that feels like something close to a bad narco-trip while flying up in a huge tunnel or a ride in super-futuristic train running with lightning speed. Something like that. Basically, this spirit and feeling of futurism in music is extremely abundant. What is more important in this regard, while listening to this album, it’s necessary to use imagination and create certain associations and feelings that will somehow fit into the sounds of these tracks.

So, let me share my thoughts, experiences and impressions gathered during the listening experience. It’s because otherwise, there’ll be nothing to talk about really.

The opening track T69 Collapse sounds like the aforementioned futuristic tunnel, which flies you through the different buildings, objects and structures, which you’ve never seen before. I felt the overall atmosphere of cybernetics and increased speed, which was represented by fast and syncopated beat and multi-layered instrumentals. I cannot say that this track can be defined as highly melodic; instead, this track highly emphasizes on the use of different rhythmic patterns and inclusion of various occasional samples.

Then, the second track 1st 44 we hear the vocal samples, highly infused with different phasers and reverberators. The randomized pattern of their occurrence in the track and the overall timbre of the samples create the impression of Death Grips music just because of their chaotic nature and because they sound like MC Ride’s vocals. The same transitions from one melody to another are present, but they are more properly structured and are less chaotic than in the previous track and in the rest of the album. As for my own associations during the listening of the track, I felt like taking a high-speed elevator somewhere above the aforementioned cybernetic and futuristic world.

Next, with the track MT1 t29r2 we can finally hear something close to a leading melodic part, which is represented by an arpeggiated “mess” on a synthesizer. In the beginning of the track it sounds like a complete chaotic mess; however, with the track’s development and inclusion of different rhythmic and melodic layers it still sounds like a mess but much more clearly structured and refined. Plus, this is one of the tracks, where the melodic content is put on a pedestal instead of focusing strictly on rhythmic patterns like in previous tracks. This melodic content is basically represented by the flowing synthesizer parts sounding close to piano. In total, the track creates an impression of chasing an unknown object that you want to catch but can’t get to it because it runs too fast.

Abundance10edit sounds like an old-school techno beat because of its inclusion of 808s combined with dark and groovy retrowave-style sounds and structures. In short, it sounds somewhat close to Lorn’s music but much faster in tempo and with syncopated rhythm. This atmosphere is also complemented by the voice sample telling “give me your hand and I will lead you to the land of abundance”.

Final track, pthex features highly detuned synthesizer parts with inclusion of really similar syncopated rhythmic like in the first two tracks, which amounts for almost 90% of the track’s sounds. As for the melodic parts here, they are included rarely here and really carefully; however, with the track’s development, the final transition sounds really great because of its mood and atmosphere change.

All in all, after listening to this album, I’ve created the following plot or scenario, if you will. With the first track it felt like appearing in the new futuristic world, unknow before, which instantly dragged me into his cybernetic nature. With the next tracks, it felt like I was offered some salvation from this futuristic mess and offered to get to the land of abundance, which made feel finally collapsing and vanishing inside it with the last notes of the album and agonizing rhythm of the closing track.

Therefore, I really like this album because of this strange, surreal and bizarre experience it gave to me. On the contrary, it should be understood that you need to use your imagination and creativity to draw some associations inside your mind in order to enjoy the album. Otherwise, it will sound like a complete mess with clashing synths, samples and drums. Just because of that even I cannot listen to it for long; despite the fact that my first listening experience was more than pleasant. That’s why I’d rate it 4 out of 5.

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