Richard David James, best known by the stage name Aphex Twin, is a British musician. He is best known for his influential and idiosyncratic work in styles such as ambient techno and intelligent dance music during the 1990s, he is among the most acclaimed figures in contemporary electronic music. Raised in Cornwall, James began releasing acid techno records in the early 1990s under aliases such as AFX and Polygon Window, co-founded the independent label Rephlex Records in 1991, he first received widespread acclaim for his 1992 debut album Selected Ambient Works 85–92. He signed to UK electronic label Warp the following year, rose to mainstream popularity with the charting singles "Come to Daddy" and "Windowlicker" along with their music videos, both directed by Chris Cunningham. After releasing the studio album Drukqs in 2001, James went into a period of inactivity as Aphex Twin but continued to issue new music under other aliases, including the Analord EP series in 2005 as AFX, a pair of releases in 2007 as The Tuss, an unreleased 1994 LP in 2014 as Caustic Window.
James returned as Aphex Twin in 2014 with the album Syro, which won a Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album. James was born on 18 August 1971 in the son of Welsh parents, he grew up in Lanner, with two older sisters, in a "very happy" childhood during which they "were pretty much left to do what wanted". He enjoyed feeling apart from nearby cities and the rest of the world; some of his earliest musical experiments as a child involved James playing with the strings inside his family's piano, similar to composer John Cage's prepared piano experiments. At age nine he began purchasing tapes and tape recorders, began recording as a refuge from the "bloody awful" Jesus and Mary Chain albums played by his sister. James attended Redruth School in Redruth and claimed to have produced sound on a Sinclair ZX81 at age 11: According to musician Benjamin Middleton, James began producing music the following year. At age twelve, he bought his first synthesiser, which he reassembled himself: "I started off modifying analogue synths and junk that I bought, got addicted to making noises.
That was the buzz for me. At that point, I'd never listened to music." As a teenager he was a disc jockey at the Shire Horse Inn in St Ives, with Tom Middleton at the Bowgie Inn in Crantock and along the beaches around Cornwall. James studied at Cornwall College from 1988 to 1990 for a National Diploma in engineering. About his studies, he said "music and electronics went hand in hand". James graduated from college. In 1989, James befriended Grant Wilson-Claridge when they were working alternating weeks as a DJ at the Bowgie pub near Newquay. Wilson-Claridge was intrigued by his sets, when he discovered that James was playing tapes of his own music he suggested that they make records. At first, putting Aphex Twin's recordings on vinyl was a way of making music the duo's friends wanted to hear. James' first release as Aphex Twin changed to AFX, was the 1991 12-inch EP Analogue Bubblebath on Mighty Force Records; the track "En Trance to Exit" was recorded with Tom Middleton known as Schizophrenia.
The EP made the playlist of Kiss FM, an influential London radio station, which helped it become successful. In 1991, James and Wilson-Claridge founded Rephlex Records to promote "innovation in the dynamics of Acid – a much-loved and misunderstood genre of house music forgotten by some and indeed new to others in Britain". From 1991 to 1993 James released two Analogue Bubblebath EPs and an EP, Bradley's Beat, as Bradley Strider. Although he moved to London to take an electronics course at Kingston Polytechnic, he admitted to David Toop that his electronics studies were being evacuated as he pursued a career in the techno genre. After leaving the Polytechnic, James remained in London, releasing albums and EPs on Warp Records and other labels under a number of aliases. Although he lived on the roundabout in Elephant and Castle, South London, during his early years in the city, he lived in a nearby unoccupied bank; the first full-length Aphex Twin album, Selected Ambient Works 85–92, was released in 1992 on R&S Records to critical acclaim.
In 2002 Rolling Stone said about the album, "Aphex Twin expanded way beyond the ambient music of Brian Eno by fusing lush soundscapes with oceanic beats and bass lines." Pitchfork called it "among the most interesting music created with a keyboard and a computer". However, critics noted that the songs were recorded on cassette and their sound quality was poor. In 1992 James released the Digeridoo and Xylem Tube EP as Aphex Twin, the Pac-Man EP as Power-Pill, two of his four Joyrex EPs as Caustic Window. "Digeridoo" reached #55 on the UK Singles Chart, was described by Rolling Stone as foreshadowing drum and bass. He wrote "Digeridoo" to clear up his audience after a rave; these early releases were on Mighty Force of Exeter and R&S Records of Belgium. In 1993 James released Analogue Bubblebath 3.
Donkey Rhubarb (EP)
Donkey Rhubarb is a 1995 EP by electronic music artist Richard D. James under the alias of Aphex Twin; the EP was released on 14 August 1995 by Warp. The EP contains a version of the song "Icct Hedral" from James's album... I Care. Donkey Rhubarb was released on 14 August 1995 by compact disc. Donkey Rhubarb charted for one week in the United Kingdom at number 78 on the UK Singles Chart. A music video for "Donkey Rhubarb" directed by David Slade was made in 1995; the video was released on DVD by Warp in September 2009. Spin referred to the track "Donkey Rhubarb" as a "silly steeldrum reverie". Ned Raggett of AllMusic gave the EP a four star rating, praising "Donkey Rhubarb" for its "lovely main melody dressed up with quick beats and the like". Raggett declared that a surprise was Phillip Glass' version of "Icct Hedral", stating that "the original's chilly melody made more serenely beautiful and disturbing all at once thanks to Glass' fine orchestration". All tracks written by Richard D. James except.
Credits adapted from Donkey Rhubarb disc. Richard D. James – producer, writer Philip Glass – writer Kurt Munkasci – producer Michael Reisman – producer Anne Pope – recording and mix engineer Rich Costey – additional engineer 1995 in music Music of the United Kingdom
Analogue Bubblebath 4
Analogue Bubblebath 4 is the fourth EP released by Richard D. James, under the alias AFX, it is the fourth release in the Analogue Bubblebath series. The EP consists of four tracks, it was released in 1994 on Rephlex Records in both CD and 12" vinyl formats. All tracks are untitled. However, many AFX fans have titled the songs after animals whose noises are thought to be heard on each track – Elephant Song, Cuckoo and Sloth, in order; these names have been adopted by the Gracenote music database. The fifth track of the CD reissue is a modulated snippet from a press conference with Evel Knievel, sometime after the Snake River Canyon incident, it is nicknamed "Knievel." – 6:22 – 5:08 – 6:04 – 8:21 – 6:22 – 6:04 – 5:08 – 8:21 – 0:27Fans have titled the tracks after the sounds that are in the tracks. 6:22 – Elephant Song 6:04 – Cuckoo 5:08 – Gibbon 8:21 – Sloth 0:27 – KnievelNote – On the Rephlex Records website, the title'Cuckoo' was given to the track, 6:04. All other track titles are of fan-interpretation.
More info and samples here Complete AFX discography
Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2
Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 is an extended play by the British electronic musician Richard D James. It was released under the pseudonym Aphex Twin on 23 January 2015 on Warp, it is meant as a companion piece to Drukqs. It received mixed reviews and placed in several international record charts, including the United States Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart, where it peaked at number one. Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 was announced for release on 9 January 2015 on Warp's official website; the track listing, worldwide release date and a list of available release formats were published on Bleep.com alongside pre-orders of the EP. Released worldwide on 23 January, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 was made available as a 12-inch record pressed on 140-gram vinyl, a Digipak CD and a digital download in various digital formats, including MP3, WAV and FLAC. An alternative mix of the EP's opening track—"Diskhat ALL Prepared1mixed "—was made available for stream and MP3 download on Richard D James' official Soundcloud account a day prior.
In Japan, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 was released on Beat Records and sold 3,627 physical copies in its first week of release. The EP was successful on the independent charts in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 placed in three separate Billboard charts in the US, it fared well on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart, entering at number 4 in its first week of release and peaking at number 1 the following week. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 received an average score of 64, based on 15 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Writing for The Guardian, Ben Beaumont-Thomas was critical of the EP and awarded it a two-out-of-five star rating, he said the EP was "even less vital" than Syro and remarked that "the breakbeat backings are now heftily blokeish where before they were disciplined and junglist. If Syro was an inquisitive artificial intelligence... is like the organic consciousness it was drawn from, its owner now tinkering with jigsaws in a retirement home."
In his review for the NME Louis Pattison was more positive, referring to the EP as "true, manufactured pop music" due to the instrumentation being "played not by human hands, but by signals zipping around circuit boards." He further said that the EP is "occasionally quite beautiful" highlighting "piano un10 it happened", summarised that "you suspect Richard D James makes this sort of music as a challenge—to his audience, to himself. On those terms, it succeeds admirably." Pattison rated the EP six out of ten. Exclaim! Writer Daryl Keating offered a mixed review, describing the EP as "seem like it was birthed in the wee hours—the compositional scribblings of a sleepless man. While mere scribblings from a musical genius can still trump the best efforts of many, this is not the case here." Keating added that "parts are coherent enough to sneak into the darker corners of Ninja Tune's back catalogue" awarding Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 a six-out-of-ten rating. Felicity Martin of Clash called Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 "a difficult but enriching document" in her seven-out-of-ten review.
She added that the EP is "compiled of often-jarring, disjointed instruments has none of the polished, restless shapeshifting raviness or danceability of Syro" but praised James' engineering, referring to it as the "really interesting part of this extended play—it's not about making the robots feel human, but feeling as though you're in the room with them, whirring about around you." AllMusic's two-out-of-five star review was entirely negative. However, Kellman said that the earlier portions of the EP started "in promising fashion" noting the "halting riffs, intricate layering, vibrant, ricocheting percussion."In an eight-out-of-ten review for Drowned in Sound Benjamin Bland referred to the Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 as "a welcome reminder of James's ability to utilise decidedly avant-garde ideas in a manner that, although acutely alien to our idea of musical normality, is engaging and inspiring." Bland regarded the EP as "highly listenable, no less so than Syro in fact, recalling accessible contemporary classicist exponents of prepared piano such as Hauschka".
Spin's Dan Weiss commented on James' use of prepared instruments, drawing comparisons to Goodbye 20th Century by Sonic Youth and Music Is Rotted One Note by Squarepusher in a seven-out-of-ten review. Weiss called the EP "spacious above the obvious clutter" and surmised that "the cacaphony of those detuned, clanging metallophones is a compelling listen or three, multiplied because it's over before your ear can grasp all the tangible treasures jingling by."Pitchfork selected the alternate mix of Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2's opening track, "diskhat ALL prepared1mixed 13", as the week's "Best New Track". Writer Patric Fallon finished his review by stating: "the need to know what's going on gives way to that feeling of awe so produces. It's another reminder that sometimes the best music is the stuff
Syro is the sixth studio album by electronic musician Richard D. James as Aphex Twin, released on 19 September 2014 on Warp, it was James's first studio album under the name Aphex Twin since Drukqs and his first album of new material since the compilation Chosen Lords. Recorded over a period of several years in various studios—including James's studio in rural Scotland—Syro incorporates subgenres of electronic music including breakbeat, glitch, drum'n'bass and ambient, it features edited vocal tracks provided by James and his family. Syro's cryptic promotional campaign included an announcement made available only on the Dark Web, as well as several press releases in broken English and events in various international cities. Syro placed in several international charts, it was nominated for the Choice Music Prize and the 2015 Mercury Music Prize, won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album. Warp founder Steve Beckett mentioned on BBC Radio 6 Music in 2009 that a new Aphex Twin studio album would "hopefully" be available by the end of the year, though no album was released.
In 2010, James revealed in an interview with culture and fashion magazine Another Man that he had six studio albums completed. Describing the records, he said among them were two "very non-commercial abstract, modular-synthesis field recordings" which were completed in 2006, as well as Melodies from Mars, a collection of unreleased material from 1995 which James reworked in 2007; when a test pressing of James's unreleased album Caustic Window was listed on Discogs in 2014 for US$13,500, fans and members of electronic music internet forum We Are the Music Makers negotiated a deal between the collector, the forum's administrator and Rephlex Records and launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in order to purchase the album. The campaign raised over $67,000 from 4,124 contributions, with proceeds split between James, Rephlex and Médecins Sans Frontières known as Doctors Without Borders. James said in retrospect that the campaign was "really touching, sweet" and, upon realising the continued interest in his music, he was inspired to release Syro.
Syro is an electronic music album which draws on elements of varied styles, including breakbeat, drum’n’bass and disco. All 12 songs on the album were written by James in-studio. According to James, the songs were written over an extended period. On the album's overall sound, James said it is " pop album, or as poppy as it's going to get" and "pleasurable to listen to... maybe just the composition's changed, but there's no next-level beats on there". He attributed this change in style to the fact he no longer used computer-controlled percussion during Syro's sessions. James described the album as capping off an era so that he could begin working on new material, stating that "I don't think these tracks are innovative. Maybe in subtle ways they are, for me, but there's nothing there that I need to explore more It just makes me want to not do anything else in that particular style."The album was recorded in six different studios, including James's studio in Scotland, which he spent three years building and, completed in 2006.
One audio engineer spent three months with James, helping him wire together patch panels before [the engineer "realised he was doing it all wrong and had to start again". Describing the overall process as "brutal", James referred to the in-studio technical issues as the catalyst for writing new music that would be featured on Syro. James used various audio setups. Rearranging equipment allowed him to explore more writing possibilities. James explained that when composing the "logical thing to do is not change anything and just do another one using the same set of sounds", but during Syro's recording sessions he would "get bored and swap things out". A total of 138 pieces of equipment were used on Syro, including synthesisers, sequencers, processing units, MIDI interfaces, drum machines, graphic equalisers and mixing desks. Among the brands James used were Yamaha, SSL, Boss, Korg and AKG. Several pieces of equipment were further modified by James himself. In addition to instrumentation, Syro features several vocal tracks.
Among them are edited "unintelligible" tracks of James, his wife Anastasia Rybina and his two sons, as well as both his mother and father, who appear on "XMAS_EVET10 ". He recorded several additional "poppy" vocals of his parents—none of which were used on Syro—and stored "entire sample packs of their voices" during the process. Syro is a neologism, coined by one of James' children, it is a shortened version of "Syrobonkus", a "nonsense word one of his sons blurted out while listening to ". The majority of the album's track titles are named after the working titles stored on James' hard drives and reference individual pieces of equipment James used in their recording, as well as the tracks' respective BPM values. A comprehensive list of all equipment featured on Syro is included as part of the album's packaging. Syro's cover artwork was designed by the Designers Republic, a graphic design studio that provided designs for previous Aphex Twin releases, including the 1999 single "Windowlicker" and the compilation album 26 Mixes for Cash.
The cover art resembles a receipt, with the official Aphex Twin logo a
Richard D. James discography
The following is the known discography of Richard D. James. Aphex Twin discography at Discogs
Collapse is an extended play by British electronic musician Richard D. James under the pseudonym Aphex Twin, it was released on 14 September 2018 on Warp. The extended play received universal acclaim from music critics, who praised James for returning to his signature "Aphex Twin" sound. In late July 2018, stylised Aphex Twin logo posters appeared in London's Elephant and Castle station. By August, the same logo was found in various cities, such as Los Angeles, New York City, Tokyo. At the same time, a since-removed Amazon listing for Collapse stated the release date to be 14 September 2018. On 5 August 2018, Warp Records issued a press release via Twitter; when edited, the document contained nonsensical, rambling sentences, such as "Y'wd Aphex Twin The legendary summer for this summer of love! Love epoch, global phenomlomenamental", including words written in Cornish, similar to track titles from James' 2001 album Drukqs. On 7 August 2018, Adult Swim was scheduled to broadcast a track from Collapse, but cancelled as the track's music video failed the Harding test.
The music video for "T69 collapse" was released that day through the Aphex Twin YouTube channel, with Warp Records stating the music video, as well as the metropolitan logo posters, were created by London-based video designer Weirdcore. Weirdcore told Fast Company's DJ Pangburn that to make the "T69 Collapse" video, he processed collaged 3D scans of Cornwall using Transfusion. AI, an After Effects plugin with machine learning algorithms that recompose images or video based on another media's style. Pre-orders for vinyl, CD and cassette copies of Collapse were made available on this day via the Aphex Twin store page, online store Bleep; the EP leaked on 13 August 2018. Collapse was met with universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 reviews from mainstream critics, the extended play received an average score of 82, based on 14 reviews. Most critics noted the release for incorporating trademark Aphex Twin sounds similar to his previous releases.
Paul Simpson from AllMusic lauded the "ironically titled" record which showcases a return to Aphex Twin's signature "ultra-glitchy beats and childlike melodies", contrary to Robert Ham from Consequence of Sound, less impressed with the familiarity and lack of surprise and shock in the songs. Alternatively, he praised the element of control within the tracks which came to "recognizable signatures at the center of the entropic sound that seems to be coming apart in real time."The individual tracks on Collapse were received positively by critics, with Daryl Keating of Exclaim! labelling the songs as "absolute gems" and Carlos Hawthorn from Resident Advisor feeling that each track had "moments abstract enough to grab your attention and human enough to keep it." Writing for NME, Tom Connick described the EP as "music for Mad Max's post-apocalyptic parties a mad-hatter's box of tricks, blown up and reconstructed" and called it Aphex Twin's "most essential" release in years. Slant Magazine's Josh Geller was surprised with how "warm and inviting" Collapse sounds, whose "dense bursts of intricate glitch to expansive, ambient soundscapes" makes it feel like a "more elaborate musical journey than its mere five tracks."Critics compared the EP to Aphex Twin's 2014 album, Syro: Andy Cush from Spin found Collapse matching to the ambition and structural shifts found in the album, while Spyros Statis of PopMatters wrote that the EP "interchanges the Syro sound with a range of dissonant ideas and disfigured rhythmic patterns."
Cush acknowledged that Collapse is more willing to "follow those shifts to more hazardous locales". The Line of Best Fit's Jack Bray instead compared Collapse to Aphex Twin's preceding EP, feeling that Collapse was a more confident release than the latter despite lasting for a shorter period, he praised the musical arrangement on the EP, which he observed was "packed with ideas" and "represents some of the finest and most varied to be found across any of projects". Pitchfork's Philip Sherburne saw that unlike Aphex Twin's previous releases, the music on Collapse "moves on a wider scale" with a "real sense of violence", but manages to stay "relatively unscathed" due to Twin's mastery of "juggling precision and chaos". Notes "pthex" does not appear on the vinyl version of Collapse