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By dr lopez
"AFX in his third Analogue Bubblebath"
Well... What to say here.. I'll keep it short because I'm sure any and everything Aphex has been discussed thousands of times over on this site and elsewhere. The CD edition coming in early 1993 slightly after the 12" in 92, contained 5 extra tracks left off the original vinyl. These were later put to wax when they repressed AB3 in 1997. I'll get to one of those in a moment.
In the context of his entire oeuvre, I would say this is a pretty weak release for him, sounding like discarded scraps from SOSW and Caustic Window releases. Probably why it came out on "his" label. I still like them and they have an unmistakable aphexy-ness, but after making my way though the soundcloud dump I'm not totally clear as to why *these* tracks were selected. For serious heads only. Sound off in the comments.
There is one track on this CD however that i would rank as one of His Best Ever. I'm speaking of course of "(CAT 00897-AA1)" which is a happy, uplifting piece of simple electronic music that only RDJ can come up with. It is a treasure and always puts me in a good mood. It's often on background playlists for when I have people over and it always gets "ooooh what is this?"
For this track alone the CD is worth it. It's a magical one. Another track I like is .1993841, a nice long moody groove. (CD only track #1) is also a nice "b-side" from SAW II perhaps. The rest I could probably do without. Anyone here absolutely love this release?
So.. AB3: 3/5
(CAT 00897-AA1): 5/5
Up next.... more RDJ with the Caustic Window Compilation CAT 009 CD ?
By dr lopez
This is something I've been wanting to do for a while. As a braindance nerd and self-styled Rephlex archivist, I'd like to invite any and all to join me in a journey through (almost) all of Rephlex's brilliant and varied catalog. There's so much amazing music to revisit and remember, and for most of us, probably stuff we haven't even heard before! This promises to be fun and I hope our discussions prove engaging.
Some background: I've got a complete "set" of every Rephlex CD ever put out, which currently sits at ~165 individual releases. Small but mighty. As such, I will be proceeding through each and every CD release in the catalog. I understand that leaves out plenty of actual music released on Rephlex, but I don't need every tom dick and larry effin and jeffin about how I'm skipping shit etc. I won't hear it. We can do a vinyl journey after. And if you're a real Rephlex head, you'll know there were CD compilations that collected a lot of the vinyl only tracks. There's even some music only released on CD, for instance the "first" rephlex CD.
So why CDs? Well, when I started collecting Rephlex releases, I didn't have enough money for the vinyl releases as used CDs are much cheaper. I also liked the idea of creating a complete digital archive because at the time most Rephlex music was not available on any digital platforms. This is slowly changing, but there's still plenty that you can't find on spotify, even less on apple music.
How fast are you going to go and in what order? As fast as is takes me, probably 1-2 releases a week. I'll be taking a week off for Christmas, jesus is lord he is risen. I'll create a thread for each release (finally some fucking content on this sub) and discuss my thoughts and hope others listen and share theirs. As for order I will be following roughly the CAT # in order, as they are generally in chronological order. Then a few adjustments for the weird CAT #s like PEN 15 and CAT 807 etc. I'll try to squeeze those in as they were released. Feel free to yell at me about this. Here is a doc of the list and order.
So that's basically it - mods - please pin this thread and then each one as we move through the catalog. I hope this gets some momentum and that people remember how fucking great rephlex was! (better yet, make me a mod of the rephlex subforum) I'll be starting with The Philosophy of Sound and Machine later today.
Peace - d-lo
By dr lopez
The first official Rephlex-only CD is upon us in the form of CAT 006 CD: Synectics - The Purple Universe, released in 1993 and sporting a flashy translucent purple jewel case!
Let's get through the technical details before we talk about the music. The CD release contains 3 tracks left of the original LP release, which itself sported a rather bizarre sleeve and label, neither containing purple (!?!?) It's clear the definitive edition of this release is the CD. Synectics was made up of a Swiss duo of Marco Repetto & Stefan Riesen, who were in the process of starting their own (excellent) label Axodya, which released all sorts of continental early 90s IDM with v high quality control imo. They are both still around but have maintained a fairly low profile since Axodya ended in the late 90s. I would love some represses from that label if anyone important is reading this! Maybe just a digital bandcamp?
The Purple Universe was certainly relegated to "rephlex obscura" until late last year when Musique pour la danse announced a "remaster" and repress of the CD track listing on 2 LPs! Apparently the repress is quite nice, although I'm not sure what the remaster is? From original DATs? Or did they just press the CD to wax. Not sure. If anyone got the repress please sound off in the comments. It's available here. They included a fair amount of hagiography that I won't post here but it's kind of charming. Also, thankfully the remaster is now up on Spotify.
OK let's get to the music. If you like early 90s British/Post-detroit techno/R&S era with slight drexciyan inflections, you shouldn't miss this. If that's extremely your shit, it's a real diamond in the rough. There are eerie samples, there are 909 patterns and snare rushes, there are tasty acid lines: in general the analog synth worth is great. I would say it generally avoids the more Ravey club style (like CJ bolland for example) in favor of a more introspective, spectral style; why it probably appealed to Rich and Grant. The "headliner" is the opening 24 minute opus, which starts big but then morphs into some excellent ambient interludes. The length of that opener grabs attention but for me the two standout tracks are "Free Sphere" and "Untitled" wedged in the middle of the CD.
"Free Sphere" builds off a simple moogy synth pattern and gradually adds elements over its 11+ min runtime creating a comforting wall of playful sounds. Quite easy to get into happy place with this one, and not something you would find that often on other releases of this era. The next track "Untitled" is some more standard acid fare, but after the chill vibes of Free Sphere it does a great job getting the foot tapping again. "Red Clouds" sounds like it's straight off an early B12 12".
There really isn't a weak track on here, which is quite impressive. Perhaps the only bad thing I can say is that The Purple Universe doesn't seem distinct enough from the era to really soar into "timeless classic" territory, but it certainly has it's own quirks. In general, similar the Philosophy of Sound comp, the optimism and naivete of this new style is incredibly infectious. Anything and everything seemed possible at the start of the 90s. And now knowing what came out at the decade's end ... everything WAS possible. You can *feel* the energy and brazen confidence to try anything - one of the reasons I LOVE this era of electronic music. Great release and definitely worth a listen. 4.5/5.
Up next... RDJ himself... with AB3! stay tuned...
By dr lopez
"A selection of Electronic Music.... for Dance and Thought"
Well this was the "first" Rephlex CD, released in 1992, in cooperation with the ART label that was run by Kirk DeGiorgio (still is I think) An excellent start for Rephlex, which I think had only released Bradley's Beat before this. Hence why it was "shared" with ART.
This is an exemplary compilation of the "British Techno Sound" that Rephlex would showcase for the first third of it's life. The sound we all associate with IDM. Aphex, B12, Black Dog/Plaid show up big here. All good tracks, although the Red Cell track is really excellent. B12 are so so underrated imo. The Aphex tracks are more humorous and lighthearted than the remaining comp, which is quite "spacey" and contemplative. The Soit P.P. track is the ageispolis beat obviously. I'm actually interested if this CD came out before SAW 85-92.
The album certainly gives Artificial Intelligence I a run for its money, although the horrendous album art (a holdover from the detroit era) is hokey and misleading. Warp did a better job in that respect. Other weak points for me are the Derrick May remix, and the Mike Dred track, which needs about 2 min cut from its run time, but I'll be getting into that when we go through freaquenseize....
Most of these tracks appear on other releases, on 12"s from that era or on various other comps later on in the decade and into the aughts. I believe this is the first appearance of Blue Calx, a full 2 years before it shows up on SAW II. I've of course listened to it 190809320943 times and it's seared into my brain, but I could easily imagine thinking this CD is worth it for that track alone. What a feeling that must have been in '92!!
I give this a 4/5. It's retro now, a time warp, but in a great way.
Up next... Synectics - The Purple Universe. stay tuned.