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What's up with the apathy toward Drukqs back in 2001?


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I couldn't tell you the last time I listened to it straight through. Could easily have been 10 years ago. I made a playlist from it (see ThatSpanishGuys picture above) of my favorites, but there's just too many experiments that imo ruin the flow. It's RDJ's album to order how he wants of course, but to listen to it through as presented, even each disc separately, doesn't happen for me anymore. The standout tracks are truly in their own world; unassailable gems. Vordhosbn is the most well-constructed piece of electronic music that I've ever heard. Mt. St Michael + St. Michaels Mount is just pure ecstatic, condensed emotion. Jynweythek Ylow is just drenched in the perfection of its simplicity. I could go on, but I felt that way about most of those as soon as it came out. It's just got a lot of magical stuff on it. How more people/critics didn't see that initially is odd; but to judge it as 'an album' I agree that is is lacking in ways. Most double albums are, imo.

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Yeah I thought about the quote. Might be why. I wouldn't give the album a perfect score, no far from it. It COULD have been his best album to me if he had gotten rid of like half of the filler (at one point there are 5 filler tracks in a row)

 

I had the thought yesterday, that most of the people who like the album have taken the tracks they like from the album and basically made a somewhat smaller album out of it, or just listen to the 'main tracks'

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Yeah I thought about the quote. Might be why. I wouldn't give the album a perfect score, no far from it. It COULD have been his best album to me if he had gotten rid of like half of the filler (at one point there are 5 filler tracks in a row)

 

Ain't no filler on drukqs mate

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it was revered back in the day. i wasn't into the scene back then but i recall some hubub.

 

i think its interesting that cd 1 basically has the "big" songs, yet cd 2 is an amazingly solid thing to put on.

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we can agree on drukqs or not but ....those reviews of drukqs! :facepalm: i don't understand how ppl think about art!!! and why the hell (only) in technical terms? wtf?! art is not science ftgs

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someone probably already said it, but for me I was taken unawares by drukqs, it just wasn't what I was expecting, it was a lot more organic, dirty and dark then what he had done before. In that way maybe it challenged the listener a little more too because we had to form a new opinion on a new basis. l think it's pretty consistent with a lot of his musical ideas in creating spaces, atmospheres, moods; just a little more visceral.

 

As far as filler I don't think there is filler either, I think it all contributes to the whole of this world and storyline, like a collage or in places a ransom note.

 

Anyway I loved it and played the hell out of it when it came out and lots of tracks were obviously gems, but it did take me off guard so its understandable if some people were put off by it. When an artist takes a new direction they will inevitably risk losing some of their following they built up in the past, but it's worth it for the sake of integrity and discovery.

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I'm one of the few ewho wrestled with drukqs, as i did in 2001, for about 10 years!.

 

Several reasons:

 

- it came out around same time as Go Plastic which utterly destroyed the breakbeat/jungle thing fantastically, the way i felt drukqs just didn't

- i found a lot of the tracks just a bit "tinny" - more bass please - (Syro is a lot warmer). as was Go Plastic, despite being equally "digital"

 

However, anytime i hear a drukqs track in one of RDJ's DJ sets, it blows me away. It was these outings that go me into the album more.

 

As for 2001 reviews....back then they didn't know you needed time for this stuff to sink the fuck in. An therein lays the genius, Ae being probably the best at that..

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I was in my twenties when Drukqs came out; loved it right away but the piano pieces were mainly filler to me - I still only listen to a handful of those... :wacko:

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- i found a lot of the tracks just a bit "tinny" - more bass please - (Syro is a lot warmer). as was Go Plastic, despite being equally "digital"

 

 

True on Syro, i really love those "Jan Hammer on gatorade" vibes in those electronic funk tracks

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It's a bit tiring to listen to me because I have to change the listening mode like every other track.

 

This.

 

 

k5Uvoij.png

 

And this.

 

I think the apathy at the time was down to it being reviewed as an album, and it just doesn't work as an album. It's not really even supposed to be an album according to aphex. I think Wire or NME called it a 'build your own aphex record' at the time. Probably if it came out as 3 short albums over 3 years they would each have been individually more lauded than this one.

 

And now he'll probably release SAW 4 and tell us part 3 was on Druqks ;)

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modern music reviews are a phenomenon of shockingly bad writing. an oddity of nature.

oh yeah, sometimes I feel that maybe critics are given (way) too much credit. People freak out over anthony fantano's stuff sometimes, but he's just a person. I think of him more an an entertainer (er for people that are somehow entertained by music reviews) than a critic or anything. That said, I can't help but feel ->slightly<- that he's the 'chosen' voice, by views, of the more experimental music group. A LOT of people look to his reviews for new music. So maybe it's a negative thing there.

 

I get the feeling that he doesn't like braindance stuff all that much, and it's unfortunate that there's not another guy out there in the experimental music listening group with a similar audience, reviewing more experimental electronic stuff.

 

It's all kind of off and doesn't make sense when you try to look at the big picture

Edited by Brisbot
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My problem with Drukqs as an album is that it is horribly inconsistent and does not flow well. It is a more of a collection of tracks than an album for me (I have read somewhere that Aphex didn't really care about it at that time - that he just had to release the album so that the label is satisfied). I am usually not in a mood for listening to musique concrète when in the mood for 54 Cymru Beats so I end up skipping a lot of tracks.

 

EDIT: Oh, I have noticed you did already discuss this. Sorry.

Edited by Jev
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Personally I think it's just because it was released just a tad bit too early. What I mean by that is at the time nobody, NOBODY had written anything that crazy before.

 

I would not be so sure about this statement. There were some mad sound experiments throughout the music history. We just didn't hear most of them.

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Last time I posted that interview quote, iirc Joyrex said that going by his personal experience/convos with RDJ, the album was supposed to be listened as a whole and not just as an 'mp3 album', so who knows

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I love most Aphex's stuff but DrukQs and Syro ellude me.

 

Having said that i am listening to DrukQs at the moment and it was all good until "cd1-04-aphex_twin-omgyjya_switch7" this track is just the all-over-the-place mess that put me off the album in the first place.

 

I wonder if you have to actually be on drugs for it to make sense. Like LSD or Speed or something?

 

I must also say that only the mainstream stuff appealed to me until I started messing around with synthesizers and realised how hard it is to actually make a track. And now I listen objectively rather than just what sounds good.

Edited by Consequences
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People, especially critics have misunderstood genius for centuries. Personally I like the change in atmosphere from track to track.

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IMO starting with the RDJ album or HAB and continuing with Druqs is when he began making music which was heavily influenced by his friends, especially Squarepusher...which to me is terribly unfortunate as I don't think there's a single thing I like that squarepusher has ever done, most of it I find extremely obnoxious. Interviews from the era support this as well as I can recall at least one where he says something about being influenced mainly by his mates. I've also always thought that he was perhaps trying one up Autechre in complexity as they were doing increasingly complex stuff by that point. They're another group who I only really like their first few releases and even those have not aged anywhere near as well as earlier Aphex Twin.

Actually there's an interview on Youtube that I was just listening to in which he talks about wanting to move out of the apartment he was sharing with a bunch of his mates because he was getting too influenced by all the stuff they make or play.

 

 

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Having said that i am listening to DrukQs at the moment and it was all good until "cd1-04-aphex_twin-omgyjya_switch7" this track is just the all-over-the-place mess that put me off the album in the first place.

 

I wonder if you have to actually be on drugs for it to make sense. Like LSD or Speed or something?

 

I dunno. The track gives me a perfect sense. Not really hard to listen to. Normal rhythms and melodies in high tempo. Second nature really. I never did drugs.

 

Even listening takes skills and experience so it might give you sense later.

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BPM's and lack of attention span with general music listeners.

 

That's my bet. If some of the drum n bassy stuff was 40-60bpm slower it would be much easier to most who don't program music like that or understand what is going on. People can't focus on too many things at once if they're not into music that does those things.

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BPM's and lack of attention span with general music listeners.

 

That's my bet. If some of the drum n bassy stuff was 40-60bpm slower it would be much easier to most who don't program music like that or understand what is going on. People can't focus on too many things at once if they're not into music that does those things.

 

Yes. Also, when you already know what to expect, listening gets completely natural.

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If it was supposed to be listened to as a proper album, then the comments he made about it being a rush release because of a lost mp3 player sound like a way of negating criticism before any occurred. It's a weird move that suggests a lack of confidence in the album or a deliberate lowering of expectations.

 

The lost mp3 player thing always seemed a bit dodge since if you have a vault of 100s of tracks (as the soundcloud dump proved he did), then why not just release an album of different tracks if the mp3 tracks leaked. It's not as if the tracks on the mp3 player were the only ones he had to sell.

 

Can you really troll the press about it being an album thrown together in response to the fear of a leak, and say it's one that people can pick and choose tracks from, then get hurt when someone listens to it and says 'quite good'?

 

There are some amazing tracks on the album but some runs of tracks don't make sense to me... sticking my neck out;

CD1

4. Strotha Tynhe

5. Gwely Mernans

6. Bbydhyonchord

 

Setting aside their individual merits, these tracks don't hold hands on a classic album to my ears.

 

How often does anyone listen to Lornaderek and Bit 4, unless they're letting CD2 play through between tracks? Again, there are some amazing tracks on the album across all the styles and flavours of aphex but, for me, I don't understand how anyone would say it's perfect.

 

Would love to read track-by-track reviews from some of the believers, if anyone has the time & appetite for it. I'm prepared to revisit the album in a new light and change my mind, and I'd rather feel I had another masterpiece in my collection instead of an album that's merely quite good ;)

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I would kill for a drukqs special edition at some point. Still my favorite all time album after all these years. STILL don't have the vinyl but I want it but it's so expensive. A box set with the album and some bonus wax.

 

And to respond to the above ones. I think most of the piano tracks are quite beautiful (and avril is overrated), the little funny tracks, okay well I think that's a way to cleanse the pallet. I think they were bits of sound that richard loved.

This album isn't my favorite because of the flow, but because of it being mostly a collection of some of my all time favorite tracks. In fact often I will skip disk 1 altogether in favor of disk 2. This album formed my entire appreciation of complex musical ideas and electronic music in general when I was in high school, and I have used it to help me understand a lot of other music in my adult life(including the music I make). At first it was a complete enigma to me (fuck, at the time I didn't even know about DnB, I listened to like, green day and smash mouth and shit like that), it really made no sense to my brain, and I think that's why I listened to it obsessively until it "clicked" and I could anticipate every little note. After that, I kept listening and really getting into certain tracks grooves. I still to this day pick out details hidden away.

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