Aphex Twin


Poor Richard D. James. He has sim­ply set the bar too high to be given a fair shout these days. We’ve just come to ex­pect so much from the Bri­tish pro­ducer that even a re­mark­able EP, such as his lat­est, Col­lapse, is likely to be met with some glassy-eyed in­dif­fer­ence. That’s not war­ranted though, and here’s why: While there isn’t nec­es­sar­ily any­thing “new” on here for Aphex Twin fans, this is still light years ahead of al­most ev­ery other pro­ducer on the planet. He ba­si­cally de­stroyed the mould some 30 years ago, so the fact that he can still come up with a track like “1st 44,” for ex­am­ple, with its coy drum rip­ples, echoed jun­gle MC clam­our and tight pock­ets of scratch­ing, is some­thing of a won­der.

And yes, there are cer­tain Aphex tropes that rear their head on this EP, like the imp­ish melodies that are strewn through­out his back cat­a­logue. Dis­man­tle the lead sin­gle “T69 col­lapse” or “MT1 t29r2” and you’ll find synth lines that sound like a de­monic ice cream van try­ing to coax you into a nice soft-serve cone, with all the fix­ings, but that’s a cru­cial as­pect.

The per­cus­sive on­slaughts that James dishes out need some­thing to cush­ion the blow — re­move that fluffy pad­ding and you’d be pum­melled to dust in no time. Other sonic mo­tifs, like the acid squelch of clos­ing track “pthex,” call to mind “Re­union 2” from Analord 5. “pthex” is its own an­i­mal though, and an un­tamed one at that.

Still, if you are in­sist­ing that some­thing new sim­ply must hap­pen with this re­lease, then look to the cu­ra­tion. Ear­lier Aphex records were largely marred by craters of aim­less ma­te­rial, but Col­lapse fol­lows his more re­cent tra­di­tion of de­liv­er­ing re­leases packed with no-non­sense tracks, a de­vel­op­ment that we surely can all get be­hind. Ev­ery song on here is an ab­so­lute gem, and while it does sound like some of Aphex Twin’s pre­vi­ous ma­te­rial, that’s prob­a­bly the best com­pli­ment it can get. ( Warp)


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