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How far we have come - The Aphex Twin Catalog in 2022


Dragon
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just re-reading some of the news articles going around in 2010 when richard casually announced that he "has six albums already completed". everyone on the techno scene was hyped, and there were loads of threads about it in here.

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"I've got six," the DJ, real name Richard D James, told Another Man magazine. "Two are very non-commercial, abstract, modular-synthesis field recordings – those I finished four years ago. Another one is Melodies From Mars, which I redid about three years ago. There's one of stuff I won't go into: a comp of old tracks which is never really finished and always changing. And then one I'm working on now. There are also loads of tracks which don't belong anywhere."

if you were here in 2010, you'll remember just how exciting this was. we were all running around guessing what these albums could be, what they sounded like. and of course it was impossible to know - that was the magic of it.

well, here we are. how do we fare?

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Two are very non-commercial, abstract, modular-synthesis field recordings

this material has surfaced in various places. first we had the Noyzelab Interview Tracks - released alongside richard's SYROBONKUS article in 2014 - which included a handful of modular tracks.

rich uploaded more of them to his Soundcloud page - highlighting them with a playlist which has since been listed on Discogs:

https://www.discogs.com/release/6288378-Aphex-Twin-Modular-Trax

then, of course, we have the Mt. Fuji Tape from 2017

between these various sources, i'm confident that just about all the material from the first and second "already completed" albums has now been released.

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Another one is Melodies From Mars, which I redid about three years ago.

sadly we have yet to hear this MfM remake. a lot of people were expecting a release of this album in 2016, when richard announced "a re-release of a very special album from twenty years ago" (does anyone have the exact quote?) but this was later revealed to be a reissue of "Mike & Rich" with seven new bonus tracks (eight if you ordered from Planet Mu).

to be fair, we DID get a release of another unreleased album - the Caustic Window LP, which for years held a similar legendary status and which, unlike Melodies from Mars, had never been circulated online and was completely unheard.

still, i'd love to know what a modern, Analord/Tuss era remake of MfM would sound like. richard did remake a track from Analogue Bubblebath 5 (again, another similar sounding album) which he uploaded to Soundcloud, and it sounds like this:

(the original is "Track A2" from Analogue Bubblebath 5).

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There's one of stuff I won't go into: a comp of old tracks which is never really finished and always changing.

here i think richard is refering to Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-2008, released in 2015. it looks like he had a long-time interest in releasing the tracks which appeared in countless live sets in the decade leading up to Syro.

ODS is a release which explicitly aims to release live tracks from a certain period which predates this 2010 interview, and the compiling of tracks on ODS may actually be based on the album richard is refering to in the above quote. let's not forget that Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-2008 is definitely an album which changed and rotated, even after its release - it was quickly reissued with a bonus track, and then again with three more bonus tracks.

 

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And then one I'm working on now.

we all know what this is. warp co-founder Steve Beckett couldn't have put it better himself when he announced as early as 2009 that "We're definitely going to be putting out a new album by him - if I can prise it out of his hands." (link - https://exclaim.ca/amparticle/aphex_twin_definitely_putting_out_new_album)

we all think of Syro as the huge, mainstream success of an album which took years and years of engineering and fine-tuning. richard described it himself as "my pop album, or as poppy as it's going to get".

we waited years and years for releases like these. Syro fulfilled the dreams of so many aphex twin fans, not just as a brand new studio album, but as a release of holy-grail live performances such as The Manchester Track (which we've been talking about since 2007) and many others.

 

he did this for us because he loves the fans - because we wished for it for so long. just look at this!

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Aphex Twin
‘Syro’
WARP247

01. minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix] [aka the manchester track]

"aka the manchester track". source - https://warp.net/updates/syro - the original announcement, written by richard himself, just to make absolutely sure that we knew what we were getting.

 

so, after all this time, it turns out that when richard announced he had "six albums already completed" - a wild, unearthly claim which barely anyone believed at the time - was not only true, but is now visibly confirmed as at least four of them have been released. richard doesn't describe the sixth album, but the extract from the 2010 interview ends with a mention of "loads of tracks which don't belong anywhere" which, of course, we saw during the SoundCloud era.

now, in 2022, we still have so much more to be excited about. richard has been talking about remastering cassette tapes from the SAW85-92 era, building custom-made cassette decks in a process which is not only exciting, but intensely personal as he has stated numerous times

 

meanwhile, there is a whole new generation of god-tier tracks from live performances - tracks which are as lush and groundbreaking as ever.

for the love of god, PLEASE check out this recent YouTube channel by the name of Unlimited Joy, which is collecting dozens and dozens of unreleased live tunes:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6pnIDH1oWqeRxMwWZ-w-xA

what a time to be alive. eternal love richard xxx

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Great post that got me to revisit some of this stuff!

I thought the AB5 track posted to soundcloud was just another version from the time period, but I could be wrong.

I still have a hunch theres a load of tracks from SYRO era we havent heard.

Here Mandy Parnell mentions that she mastered a "phenomenal amount of tracks" for syro. She isnt listed on any afx release after syro so I wonder what those tracks were?

 

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I had several rooms mic'd up as reverbs from there and did whole tracks by just feeding rooms into other rooms via delays and frequency shifters, monitors and mic's, still to be released.

From the noyzelab interview.  I would love to hear these.

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On 1/17/2022 at 2:59 PM, m0rb1d said:

From the noyzelab interview.  I would love to hear these.

I wonder if this was one of those tracks…

… love the mic’d room effect. 
Similar vibes in this one…

 

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i wonder if the "one i won't go into" ended up being ccai pt. 2? perhaps he recorded an albums' worth of electro-acoustic stuff but decided to condense the stronger material into an EP? or maybe it was cheetah and the same thing happened? the cheetah liner notes specifically state it was recorded before syro.

and instead, some of the "tracks which don't belong anywhere" actually ended up forming orphaned deejay selek?

 

7 hours ago, silentvision said:

Wonder if London 03.06.17 falls within the originally mentioned six albums completed.

i reckon this was made after 2010, possibly post-syro or at the very least late-syro. (i have nothing to back up my claim, just pure speculation 🙂 )

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What's a conventional definition of "Album"? By Discogs's standards, Syro and Fuji are the only albums among these.

Edited by psn
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2 minutes ago, cern said:
11 minutes ago, MIXL2 said:

afx pls use more trackers less hardware thx

Oh no kompis not that Breakcore road thanks

or max/msp

all of this post syro stuff is just

so boring

so boring

truth

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On 1/22/2022 at 6:59 PM, milkface said:

Would you try a Pot Noodle sandwich? | Daily Mail Online

gotta have enough room for pot noodles

https://lannerchronicle.wordpress.com/2020/10/14/aphex-twinq-magazine-november-2014/

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He currently lives “in the middle of nowhere”, where he’s got five separate home studios, each devoted to different kinds of hardware, from modular synths to electro-mechanical robots. he used to have a dining room with an idyllic view but he set up a sampler on the dining table and gradually added to it and now the whole room is just a tower of gear with a hole in the middle.

“I can’t see anything now, he says”, laughing.“ My wife says we live in this place with equipment, with spaces for Pot Noodles.”

 

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10 minutes ago, Dragon said:

He currently lives “in the middle of nowhere”, where he’s got five separate home studios, each devoted to different kinds of hardware, from modular synths to electro-mechanical robots. he used to have a dining room with an idyllic view but he set up a sampler on the dining table and gradually added to it and now the whole room is just a tower of gear with a hole in the middle.

“I can’t see anything now, he says”, laughing.“ My wife says we live in this place with equipment, with spaces for Pot Noodles.”

I mean it.

Burn all the hardware.

Or give it away.

Digital supremacy now.

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On 1/22/2022 at 8:50 PM, psn said:

Let's all be kompis

Let's all be rompis 

(this is actually the most rompis forum ever existed)

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On 1/17/2022 at 2:33 PM, Dragon said:

just re-reading some of the news articles going around in 2010 when richard casually announced that he "has six albums already completed". everyone on the techno scene was hyped, and there were loads of threads about it in here ...

Thanks for the post, proper job

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  • 2 months later...

Yeah MFM remake would be so appreciated these days... Just some oldschool rdj tunes / classic melodies redone in a new light and slick and snappy sounding.

Wonder if we crowdsource this to encourage him ?? 🙂

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