I hope when you read this title you had no idea what it meant. Because if that’s the case, then you are about to discover the enigmatic and erratic artist behind some of the most original electronic and ambient music ever made. He is a man of many names and many faces (well, it’s the same face but it’s often distorted on his album covers or atop a body that it doesn’t belong to like a child or a sexy woman in a bikini). He has been called Richard D. James, AFX, Caustic Window, Polygon Window, the Tuss (though there was some question about that) and, much to the delight of fans, often dumps unreleased music on Soundcloud under the name user18081971. But to most people he is known as Aphex Twin.
You’ve probably at least heard of Aphex Twin, whether you’ve heard his music or not. He’s been releasing innovative electronic music since the early ’90s. A few years ago I really dove into his music. I love finding artists with huge catalogues of music that you can listen to and live in that world for weeks and weeks. It was that way for me in high school when I began listening to Phish, the Grateful Dead, Ween (Aphex Twin is said to be a fan of Ween’s records Pure Guava and The Pod – which makes sense since both Ween and Aphex Twin began as DIY home recording projects) and other bands with these really giant catalogues. And it happened later when I got into ambient and electronic music and really began listening seriously to Aphex Twin’s music. So if you haven’t heard much, or any, of Aphex Twin’s work you are in for a treat. Headphones are recommended and if you really want an amazing headphone experience try listening to Bucephalus Bouncing Ball.
This is a beautiful song. It’s so pretty that I had it on the playlist during the cocktail hour at my wedding. It actually fit pretty nicely. Maybe my favorite instrumental song of all. I like it so much that I needed to know what it felt like to make those sounds so I figured out how to play it on the acoustic guitar. But since I’m not a great guitar player I recommend the original Aphex Twin version from his 1997 EP Come to Daddy.
Dance-y, yet slightly melancholic. That might sum up Aphex Twin’s music if that wasn’t an inherently impossible task. “4” is the first track from Aphex Twin’s excellent 1996 release Richard D. James Album.
XMAS_EVET10  [thanaton3 mix]
From 2014’s Syro – Aphex Twin’s latest album and the first since 2001’s Drukqs to be released under the Aphex Twin name. (Speaking of new music, a brand new AFX track was just released on Friday.) XMAS_EVET10 – the second track on Syro –is 10-and-a-half minutes of mutating music with morphing drum patterns, distorted vocal samples, radar blips and thick bass lines that stick in your head like gum on your sneakers.
I love to discover new music. What are you guys listening to?