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The cult of aphex twin - bbc radio 4 doc


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"56 Cymru Beats again, is technically impressive - but again could have easily been released in 1994."

 

...the fuck kinda time machine you got?

 

That's a curious metric to judge music by. "The prepared piano tracks could have been released in the early 1700s..." Like maybe I want to listen to good music even if it's not using cutting edge technology. Something I really like about Aphex Twin's music is that if he hadn't made it, no-one else would have, because it's just so different no-one else would have dreamed up anything remotely similar. The same goes for Autechre. For the most part, it doesn't sound 90s so much as like it could be from an utterly alien culture.

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"56 Cymru Beats again, is technically impressive - but again could have easily been released in 1994."

 

...the fuck kinda time machine you got?

 

That's a curious metric to judge music by. "The prepared piano tracks could have been released in the early 1700s..." Like maybe I want to listen to good music even if it's not using cutting edge technology. Something I really like about Aphex Twin's music is that if he hadn't made it, no-one else would have, because it's just so different no-one else would have dreamed up anything remotely similar. The same goes for Autechre. For the most part, it doesn't sound 90s so much as like it could be from an utterly alien culture.

That's a great post.

 

Spoken like someone who probably didn't experience the 90's first hand.  90's Aphex Twin and Autechre is well within the musical styles and movements of that decade..

Edited by killabyte11
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The cult of Aphex Twin is like Nintendo's fan base: Annoying and clinging onto a rose-tinted view of the past. Windowlicker was the last progressive thing Aphex Twin released. Evident from listening to everything he's done since then you can tell he's been relying completely on his past successes since then and playing it safe. It's really hard to argue against him for doing it because of is notoriety, but almost all of his newer stuff he's been making sounds no different than his much older stuff. Almost all of his focus now is pimping out hardware, which music companies love because it makes more profitable to sell equipment and subscription-based software packages

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The cult of Aphex Twin is like Nintendo's fan base: Annoying and clinging onto a rose-tinted view of the past. Windowlicker was the last progressive thing Aphex Twin released. Evident from listening to everything he's done since then you can tell he's been relying completely on his past successes since then and playing it safe. It's really hard to argue against him for doing it because of is notoriety, but almost all of his newer stuff he's been making sounds no different than his much older stuff. Almost all of his focus now is pimping out hardware, which music companies love because it makes more profitable to sell equipment and subscription-based software packages

 

Instead of "playing it safe", I would argue that maybe it's just his sound/style. If you're making music from the heart and not from the head, then maybe the style will be same for twenty years. So what? I'm listening to XMAS_EVET10 right now and it is an amazing track. Could it have been a track on the Windowlicker EP without standing out like coming from the future? Maybe, to my layman's ears they are not wildly different, production wise. But if you have that song in you, of course you should fucking make it even if you could have done it twenty years earlier... I know I'm glad he did.

/Insufferable fanboy rant over

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The cult of Aphex Twin is like Nintendo's fan base: Annoying and clinging onto a rose-tinted view of the past. Windowlicker was the last progressive thing Aphex Twin released. Evident from listening to everything he's done since then you can tell he's been relying completely on his past successes since then and playing it safe. It's really hard to argue against him for doing it because of is notoriety, but almost all of his newer stuff he's been making sounds no different than his much older stuff. Almost all of his focus now is pimping out hardware, which music companies love because it makes more profitable to sell equipment and subscription-based software packages

Instead of "playing it safe", I would argue that maybe it's just his sound/style. If you're making music from the heart and not from the head, then maybe the style will be same for twenty years. So what? I'm listening to XMAS_EVET10 right now and it is an amazing track. Could it have been a track on the Windowlicker EP without standing out like coming from the future? Maybe, to my layman's ears they are not wildly different, production wise. But if you have that song in you, of course you should fucking make it even if you could have done it twenty years earlier... I know I'm glad he did.

/Insufferable fanboy rant over

Well said. Agreed.

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The cult of Aphex Twin is like Nintendo's fan base: Annoying and clinging onto a rose-tinted view of the past. Windowlicker was the last progressive thing Aphex Twin released. Evident from listening to everything he's done since then you can tell he's been relying completely on his past successes since then and playing it safe. It's really hard to argue against him for doing it because of is notoriety, but almost all of his newer stuff he's been making sounds no different than his much older stuff. Almost all of his focus now is pimping out hardware, which music companies love because it makes more profitable to sell equipment and subscription-based software packages

Really? You didn’t attend the remote orchestra gig in London did you. Because the first half was as far from left field a major artist as you could get. Sure it wasn’t spectacular but it certainly wasn’t ‘playing it safe’, The second half was where Aphex really made his mark, with green laser mirror ball explosions and swinging piano. Anyway I’m watching the footie and you my son are derailing my concentration

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The cult of Aphex Twin is like Nintendo's fan base: Annoying and clinging onto a rose-tinted view of the past. Windowlicker was the last progressive thing Aphex Twin released. Evident from listening to everything he's done since then you can tell he's been relying completely on his past successes since then and playing it safe. It's really hard to argue against him for doing it because of is notoriety, but almost all of his newer stuff he's been making sounds no different than his much older stuff. Almost all of his focus now is pimping out hardware, which music companies love because it makes more profitable to sell equipment and subscription-based software packages

 

Instead of "playing it safe", I would argue that maybe it's just his sound/style. If you're making music from the heart and not from the head, then maybe the style will be same for twenty years. So what? I'm listening to XMAS_EVET10 right now and it is an amazing track. Could it have been a track on the Windowlicker EP without standing out like coming from the future? Maybe, to my layman's ears they are not wildly different, production wise. But if you have that song in you, of course you should fucking make it even if you could have done it twenty years earlier... I know I'm glad he did.

/Insufferable fanboy rant over

 

The guy used to never make the same album twice. Syro sounded like a bunch of shlick from his Analord stuff, which is a regurgitation from his shit from pre-1993, and was polished finely. It was really well produced but it sounds like is flailing around in the same mud puddle long enough.

 

 

The cult of Aphex Twin is like Nintendo's fan base: Annoying and clinging onto a rose-tinted view of the past. Windowlicker was the last progressive thing Aphex Twin released. Evident from listening to everything he's done since then you can tell he's been relying completely on his past successes since then and playing it safe. It's really hard to argue against him for doing it because of is notoriety, but almost all of his newer stuff he's been making sounds no different than his much older stuff. Almost all of his focus now is pimping out hardware, which music companies love because it makes more profitable to sell equipment and subscription-based software packages

Really? You didn’t attend the remote orchestra gig in London did you. Because the first half was as far from left field a major artist as you could get. Sure it wasn’t spectacular but it certainly wasn’t ‘playing it safe’, The second half was where Aphex really made his mark, with green laser mirror ball explosions and swinging piano. Anyway I’m watching the footie and you my son are derailing my concentration

 

 

I lump that in there with Squarepusher and his robot crap.

I thirst for fanboi tears  :rdjgrin:

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"56 Cymru Beats again, is technically impressive - but again could have easily been released in 1994."

 

...the fuck kinda time machine you got?

 

That's a curious metric to judge music by. "The prepared piano tracks could have been released in the early 1700s..." Like maybe I want to listen to good music even if it's not using cutting edge technology. Something I really like about Aphex Twin's music is that if he hadn't made it, no-one else would have, because it's just so different no-one else would have dreamed up anything remotely similar. The same goes for Autechre. For the most part, it doesn't sound 90s so much as like it could be from an utterly alien culture.

That's a great post.

 

Spoken like someone who probably didn't experience the 90's first hand.  90's Aphex Twin and Autechre is well within the musical styles and movements of that decade..

 

Oh, sweet.  We're gatekeeping the 90's now?  I've just been calling it "being old".  

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Wait

 

People listen to Aphex because he's progressive?

 

I thought it was 'cause he (usually) writes really good music?

 

I mean yeah some is like, progressive and unique?

 

But then some is just like, a nice piano song

 

Or a catchy dance tune.

 

Huh

 

Weird.

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people sperging in here hardcore.

 

 

since when does music need to be progressive? Isn't that the essence of why people were making fun of the neonlights guy and his 25 changes shit? 

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As listeners i guess we all have a right to decide what we enjoy or don't enjoy about an artist's work, and we also have the right to want a particular kind of output from an aritst... but this doesn't trump the artist's right to do whatever the hell they want. 

 

Whilst i don't love all of Syro (4api... that fifth track... papat ...) Circlont6, Xmas, minipops are all up there for me as some of his best work! I don't really think of these things in terms of when they could have been written, or whether or not the songs are pushing the boundaries of what modern technology would allow for. These things are not at the root of my enjoyment of Richard's music. When i'm listening to aphex i'm really appreciating the song structures... timbres and the way the melodies interact...

 

I can see though that if this was at the root of a listener's enjoyment that things like Analord/Syro would be a bit of a disappointment. I do remember feeling a little taken aback when Analord first came out because i was expecting more brain melting Drukqs style drum programming but it took me a while to realise that within Analord is some of his best song writing and this new sense of appreciation for his skills with creating  relationships between melodies increased my ability to appreciate his earlier, more technical tracks on drukqs...

 

I do think its absurd to suggest that he hasn't written anything meaningful or progressive since Windowlicker - are you serious with that? Drukqs even now for me is unmatched with respect to the attention to detail of its sequencing. 

 

I have to admit though that the EPs after Syro have not really interested me, and i would love to see him create something a little bit more experimental and take a step back from the analogue synths for a bit... but like i said earlier... i'd rather him release stuff that he was really into and continue to do that ... 

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I think it's creatively trapping to have to be producing the most ground breaking, progressive work every time you release an album.  Good music has absolutely nothing to do with this notion of "breaking new ground" or what ever you want to call it.  In my opinion it's something that's done far more harm than good for artists like Aphex Twin and Autechre. 

 

What I will say in criticism of RDJ's work from around Analord to present is that it's kind of like he's on auto pilot.  Many (but certainly not all) of his pieces sound more 'stream of consciousness' or like he's just messing about/noodling around and sound far less focused, deliberate, distinctive, substantial consistent, etc.. than his work up to Drukqs.  Again I say this with exception to certain tracks that have been fantastic after that period. 

 

-[edit] Also I do think Syro is good, it just lacks a certain edge or intensity that a lot of his earlier work had.

Edited by killabyte11
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From what I recall, Syro was programmed with a Cirklon using a combination of analog and digital hardware. All recorded in a single take. It may not be musically groundbreaking, but it's impressive as fuck. I think the different textures he achieves with the instrumentation for each track is really interesting.

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I think it's creatively trapping to have to be producing the most ground breaking, progressive work every time you release an album.  Good music has absolutely nothing to do with this notion of "breaking new ground" or what ever you want to call it.  In my opinion it's something that's done far more harm than good for artists like Aphex Twin and Autechre. 

 

What I will say in criticism of RDJ's work from around Analord to present is that it's kind of like he's on auto pilot.  Many (but certainly not all) of his pieces sound more 'stream of consciousness' or like he's just messing about/noodling around and sound far less focused, deliberate, distinctive, substantial consistent, etc.. than his work up to Drukqs.  Again I say this with exception to certain tracks that have been fantastic after that period. 

 

-[edit] Also I do think Syro is good, it just lacks a certain edge or intensity that a lot of his earlier work had.

Yeah that's exactly how I feel. It's not that his newer music isn't "innovative" (usually when someone says this outside watmm it's followed by something stupid like "the most innovative thing for him do at this point would be making an album with guitars" lol). It's just that it doesn't quite live up to the promise of his early 90s work. IMO that stuff has a mystical, highly evocative quality that more recent releases like Syro and the Tuss almost completely lack, even thought they're obviously much more virtuosically arranged/sequenced.

 

Basically his early music is like the blueprint for the best music ever--but instead of building on it, with the Tuss and Syro he's turned into a bland rave version of Weather Report or something. Hopefully he'll finally release the next level beats soon.

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The rabid excitement for an aphex release left me after drukqs. I liked drukqs. Some unreleased stuff since then has got me the tingles, but yeah, the 90's were a wait and see what he does time period. Truly ground breaking. Like giggling hysterics at the record listening area at the music store. Maybe it's cause I was young. I don't know. Ive been struggling with this lately

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https://disquiet.com/1997/04/15/eponymous-rex/

Weidenbaum: For many of us in the States, England seems fairly homogenous, at least once you get outside the cities. Could you explain what Cornwall is like for a little kid growing up.

James: It's really beautiful—like, the countryside's really nice. It's got a really sort of quite mystical sort of vibe to it, as well. Lots of sort of folklore and folk tales and it's full of stuff like that, and there's lots of strange people, lots of sort of weird hermit people who live out in the middle of nowhere and there's a lot of witches and sort of magic, black magic, and stuff like that.

 

i can't imagine current aphex breaking away from the gear talk/conspiracy theories long enough to say something cool like this. still in the cult though, thanks

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The next big thing on AFX cvlt: Hermeticism. Soon every fan wants to be an esoteric Sunday pagan jumping around fields following Ley Lines and searching for their inner Druids. Conspiracy theories are so murica anyways. I'm already off buying my Grimoire collection from the nearest academic book store and so should you.

 

re: the Tuss and Analord....I love Tuss stuff but have somewhat troubled relationship with some of the Analord stuff. There are some wicked volumes such as 4, 7, 8 or 10 but on the other hand I can't fully get into volumes like 1 and 6 which are praised among true fans. Then again I'm in that minority who think that Chosen Lords is actually a good comp. Dunno if the post-Drukqs releases are "innovative" or not but can't really see how someone would think they were done on auto-pilot either. And it goes for Syro, Cheetah etc. To my ears they sound like there's much work behind every track and not just some tired shitting on a sheet and be surprised of the result. Then again there are also experiments such as Syrobonkus/Fuji Tape modular stuff which sound like they are only those - experiments. Although something "new", not my cup of tea.

 

I think I'm going to be hanged for this but sometimes I get the feeling that for some listeners of a ehm more sophisticated stuff (omfg I can already feel the shit storm coming) such as AE, Arca, OPN VHS Head etc. AFX isn't always complex enough, hence the feeling of Rich playing it safe. So on some level the innovativeness depends on what are you looking from your daily electronic music dose: someone is after complex new level structures, other is craving for sweet melodies and third dude just loves everything. Like, I remember reading some old review of how this then new Merzbow release was something so, omg, new and fresh but to me it sounded exactly like his previous 637 releases.

 

Shite, am I a cult victim or what?

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