It’s been 15 years since Richard D James aka Aphex Twin’s last appearance on German soil, and in the lead up to his oddly contentious comeback show at the almost equally historic Funkhaus venue, fans online are trying to dig up party flyers of AFX raves gone by. “Nope, two mentions, in all of German history, that’s all I can find,” captions one user, alongside scans of two tattered old posters. The chat runs concurrently to scores of people offloading last minute tickets – when the show was announced back in May, it was a billed as a concert, presumed to be in Funkhaus’ grand Socialist era performance hall. Two days before the event, a timetable reveals – confusingly – Aphex Twin won’t be appearing until the ‘afterparty’, which kicks off at 11pm, in the large warehouse space next to the concert hall, leaving a lot of poor Berlin artists grumbling they’ve paid 70 euros for a ticket to a club night.
Expectation mismanagement aside, the event unfolds as a warped history lesson that speaks both to Aphex Twin’s own long legacy as an electronic pioneer since at time before the Berlin wall had even fallen, and the German capital’s own evolving relationship with history and itself.