Aphex Twin | MUSIC: Soundbite | Indy Week
Pin It

Aphex Twin 

Our critics' picks in new releases

Electronica as a genre has been around since the late 1920s with the advent of the theremin, but recently the form has seemed in danger of being siphoned dry by sample-happy beat sharps who switch up the breaks with numbing predictability. Englishman Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, however, has never been farther from the drought.

Many of the songs on this double-disc seem to have a beat, but not in any recognizable, countable sense. James is so super-adept at using the listener's preconceptions (the old adage about how the notes an artist doesn't play are as important as the ones he/she does) that it's almost interactive. Rhythm is never background layering; it's solo virtuosity. Hidden within the drum-and-bass, unfamiliar sounds zoom past as quickly as needlepoint lasers or rumble like echoing canyons. When familiar instruments appear, they've been tinkered with to the point where they possess whole new textures, unbelievable pitch and range. Represented visually, this music would look like the work of H.R. Giger or M.C. Escher, alternating inversions and explosions that create palpable dread and confrontation from these most inorganic of palettes.

The song titles are mostly unpronounceable, so suffice it to say that there's a mix of ambient, hypnotic pieces interspersed with cranked-out rattlers that grip like a seizure. Video-game whip-cracks form the intro to one song; another is backed by the sustained, echoing impact of a bass drum. James' mother makes a sampled appearance, sounding like some benighted crone from a frightening fairy tale. An actively intellectual experience, Drukqs is by no means an unemotional affair, but the feelings you're likely to experience are jaw-dropping awe and squirming unease. These digital ricochets seem to take place in an endless, empty darkness, James himself a mad numerologist trapped between the stars, casting the most complex and dreadfully pregnant of spells.

  • Our critics' picks in new releases

Latest in MUSIC: Soundbite

More by Bill Floyd

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in MUSIC: Soundbite

  • Soundbite

    Our critics' picks in new releases
    • Nov 16, 2005
  • Soundbite

    Our critics' picks in new releases
    • Nov 16, 2005
  • Soundbite

    Our critics' picks in new releases
    • Nov 16, 2005
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Comments

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation