Aphex Twin
Richard D. James Album


4.0
excellent

Review

by Scott Herren USER (42 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 194 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist


Although most of the attention recieved by Richard D. James, a.k.a. Aphex Twin, was for his breakthrough in minimalistic, ambient techno on his debut Selected Ambient Works 85-92, and his second album Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2, Richard D. James did not limit himself to this one style. On his fourth album, 1996's Richard D. James Album, Aphex Twin wandered into the acid-jungle genre and pulls off a record that sounds like a tripped out Squarepusher. This is the first time James uses drum'n'bass on an album, and the beats are very jarring, because they are essentially just laid over the top of the same type of laid back ambient from his earlier works.

Aphex Twin is Richard D. James

4
Right out of the gates, James goes into a frantic sounding drum beat which has the effect of drum rolls, and is actually very cool. The melody is mysterious, and actually pretty catchy. There is a part in the middle where the song slows down a bit, and almost comes to a halt, but then suddenly the techno beat comes back in. The second half starts with just the ambient melody for about 30 seconds, and that is the highlight of the song. Soon after the electronic drums come back in again for a short time before giving way to the melody again, and as the drums come back in the song fades out. This is one of my favorite Aphex Twin songs. 5/5

Cornish Acid
This song is a strange one. The beat and the ambient part don't really seem to mix that well. The beat is piercing and pounding, and the melody isn't really all that great. When the ambient part gives way to the techno beat, the song is at it's best, but sadly that isn't often enough. Not a bad song, but not great either. 3/5

Peak 824545301
The song starts off with a sustained beep that sounds like a phone off the hook, but it is quickly replaced by a grinding techno beat. As the beat pulsates along. Another techno beat comes in to joing the original and serve as the melody. The buzzing of the second beat is extremely catchy. The techno beats at some points are almost too out there and over the top. He would have been better served just sticking to the basic beats in this song and eliminating all the extra medling. However, I still love the song, and it is one of the stronger on the album. 4.5/5

Fingerbib
This song begins with a lighter sound, a departure from the hardcore techno beats from the first 3 songs. This is more like something you would expect to hear from his first two albums. There is a wonderful buzzing melody with a great ambient part about a minute and 30 seconds into the song. The beat is light enough where it lets the ambience really dominate the song, which is a good thing. This is overall a very good song. 4/5

Corn Mouth
This song goes back to the experimental techno and jungle beats, and has great success. There is what sounds like a horn laid over the top of the frantic pulsating and rolling drum beats. This is followed by some of the oddest sound effects I have ever heard. This is all computerized effects, so it difficult to describe exactly what it is meant to sound like, but it has this nice melodic echoey effect that I like. The problem with this song is that the effects don't fit well with the beat, and thus this is only an average song by Aphex Twin standards. 3/5

To Cure a Weakling Child
The song starts off with sampling of a child saying "You'll be my eyes, my arms, and my ears". The rest of the song is basically taking that phrase and repeating over and over at different tempos with different effects with a nice ambient piece in the background, and the drums'n'bass. It actually all comes together rather nicely, all the time centering around the child's phrase. I hope that kid got paid for this. :) Great song. 5/5

Goon Gumpas
This song starts of with some ambient synth strings. Finally a keyboard comes in as accompaniment to the ambient string section. The ambient section is very nice, but the keyboard is a bit too piercing for the type of song that I feel this should be. There are no techno beats here, as this is one of the few strictly ambient pieces on the album. It is good, but not great. 4/5

Yellow Calx
This is a wonderful song that implements a pulsing anchor beat. It then expands on it with crashing techno beats. There is lots of clicking and rolling drums again, and I feel this is one of the best jungle songs on the album. I really like the beat, and there are so many different variations and such that it is difficult to describe the song and do it justice. 5/5

Girl/Boy Song
This song sounds implements techno beats, but is much lighter than most of the others. It uses a some sort of plucked string instrument (violin or harp or something) to create a wonderful melody, and unlike in other songs, the drums and bass take a backseat to this string melody. It all blends together very nicely and creates a very warm and atmospheric song. 5/5

Logon Rock Witch
This song has a beat that you may hear in a video game when a character falls down or something. The only way I can describe it is with the word "silly". There is other percussion that sounds like African drums also, and the melody of the song is created by either a keyboard or an organ, and sounds almost like something you would here in church. The contrast sounds odd, but in reality it is a song that cannot be written off. On paper is sounds horrible, but he actually goes out and does it, and pulls off a very solid song. 4/5

Milkman
There are some vocals that can't be made out in the beginning. It just sounds like someone grumbling, but when the actual music comes in, the song is wonderful. There are two parts of the song, there are parts of the song where the phrase "I wish the milkman would deliver my milk" is repeated with a nice techno beat and string synths in the background. Then there are parts where the phrase "I would like some milk from the milkman's wife's tits" is repeated to a slightly different beat, and in a darker tone. The contrasting vocals are actually pretty hilarious. This is one of my favorites on the album. A great song. 4.5/5

Inkeys
This is a shorter song, with the darkest, and most intense techno beats on the album. It is good for what it is, but it is rather repetitive, and has little reason for repeated listens. 3/5

Girl/Boy Song [18 Snare Rush Mix]
This is a remix of the song "Girl/Boy Song". It uses a snare drum in place of the bass drum on the original, and the melody is different. It is hard to point out any similarities between the original, but suffice to say this is a short song, and not a lot happening. 2.5/5

Beetles
Another song without a techno beat. There are some ambient noises, some beeping and a nice melody. The vocals are pretty nice, when you get around the fact that they are about beetles. I can't really make out the lyrics, but I know there are about beatles because that is the only word I can make out. This is one of the lighter songs, and is rather short and sweet. 4/5

Girl/Boy Song [Redruth Mix]
As far as remixes of "Girl/Boy Song" go, this is the better of the two. It has a nice dark techno beat, and a nice shimmering chiming melody. It is only a minute and a half long or so, and is the same thing repeated over and over, but that thing is a good thing, so it is ok. At the end there are some wierd distorted singing vocals singing about eating vegetables with cheese and I am like :eek: That caught me off guard. 4.5/5

Overall, this is my favorite Aphex Twin album. Fans of Squarepusher will certainly like this album, but if you are looking for something along the lines of Twins first two albums, this isn't exactly it. The Richard D. James Album isn't for everyone, although I'm not exactly sure who it isn't for :).



Recent reviews by this author
Royksopp Melody A.M.Metric Old World Underground, Where Are You Now
Ride NowhereClearlake Cedars
The Walkmen Bows + ArrowsJamiroquai A Funk Odyssey
user ratings (928)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
For Tomorrow: A Guide to Contemporary British Music, 1988-2013 (Part 24)...

IAJP (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 17th 2004


2125 Comments


Really good review man. I gotta check out this album.

Iai
Emeritus
November 17th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Beautiful.

I'm not sure what I'd pick as my fave Aphex record....this is more fun to listen to, but I appreciate the skill in Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 more, and find it more rewarding. Depends what I'm in the mood for, I guess.

talk show host
November 17th 2004


18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That was a really good review.

I think I'm with Iai on this one. It's probably the Aphex Twin album I listen to the most, but overall Ambient Works Vol.2 has probably had more of an effect on me.

4.5/5

Dried Muffin Remnants
April 13th 2005


297 Comments


I've only heard stuff from his other album. Might check this one out.

"Come To Daddy" is played regularly on my iTunes. Good stuff.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
July 24th 2005


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice FA choice. Aphex Twin rules. I love the sex noises on "Windowlicker."

Kingadamx
August 12th 2005


120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is an electronic masterpiece. The first track (4) is such an amazing song, some of the songs on this album are quite creepy though (Beetles/Milkman).

Dried Muffin Remnants
September 22nd 2005


297 Comments


I know I have the avatar and everything...but believe it or not, this isn't close to being one of my favorite albums. However, I think that it, along with his earlier Ambient Works are HIS best work. He is a talented techno mastermind and deserves the recognition he gets. I really liked 4, Peek, and Logon Witch.

Different and interesting stuff.

Rating: 4.2/5

ocelot-05
November 13th 2005


807 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album is genius. I love it to death, and I think it's on my top 5 (not sure). Good review, Scott Herren.

Thor
March 1st 2006


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just got this album and it's quite enjoyable, even for someone who isn't accustomed to electronica.

Zebra
Moderator
March 1st 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

'Milkman' makes me chuckle everytime I listen to it. It is so ironic yet catchy. This is an excellent album, it has sort of an eeire feel to if which I adore.


Killtacular
March 1st 2006


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

For some odd reason, this is my least favourite 'Twin I've heard so far. It just doesn't reach out and grab me.

The Jungler
March 11th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I currently don't own any Aphex Twin albums but have heard a few songs. Which CD should I start out with?

Zebra
Moderator
March 11th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This one. It is easy to get into, and probably Aphex Twins most accessible album.

The Jungler
March 11th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, this is the album I've heard the most off of.

Thanks

"Freshly Baked"
June 5th 2006


583 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=Scott Herren]To Cure a Weakling Child
The song starts off with sampling of a child saying "You'll be my eyes, my arms, and my ears". The rest of the song is basically taking that phrase and repeating over and over at different tempos with different effects with a nice ambient piece in the background, and the drums'n'bass. It actually all comes together rather nicely, all the time centering around the child's phrase. I hope that kid got paid for this. Great song. 5/5[/quote]

That kid was paid handsomely because the kid in the song is Richard D. James himself.

He said he recorded his voice when he was younger and used some of the things he found for songs.

Zebra
Moderator
June 5th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Wow, that's so strange and creepy. It's almost hard to beleive, why would he record his voice while he was just a little kid?

undertakerpt
July 2nd 2006


1317 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

DAM IT, we don't have the bonus tracks over in the U.K, we've only got up until logon rock witch.

Zebra
Moderator
July 2nd 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

That's nothing to be upset about. Milkman is the only real strong track after Logon Rock Witch anyways.

The Jungler
July 2nd 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, Zebra is right. Just try and downloard Milkman, if you really want to.

undertakerpt
July 2nd 2006


1317 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeh i heard milkman, quite funny because it's richard singing lol



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy