Aphex Twin
Drukqs


4.5
superb

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
August 28th, 2011 | 68 replies | 16,687 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ah, that's the stuff.

If there's something to be learnt from electronic music, it's that everything is done for a reason. Aphex Twin's fifth LP alienated many who had come to expect the soothing tones of his earlier works as it's much dirtier, harsher and explores the acid genre in a similar way to one of Richard James' other aliases, AFX. What many have failed to understand, and why DrukQs (roughly translated as drug use) has been branded as Aphex Twin's worst LP, is that it triggers the same emotional response as his ambient works; it just comes in a different format.

DrukQs is an exercise in beauty. It's not the kind of beauty that washes over you and soothes you, it's the beauty that offers relief after being bombarded by a blistering attack of extremely heavy acid music. It's hidden away: sometimes at the end (Ziggomatic 17) or in plain sight (Cock/ver 10). But it's ever present, despite the amount of tracks on DrukQs' every song contains some.

Of course, the album isn't that simple. The inclusion of a select few very soft, soothing piano pieces is a brief nod to his old albums, though they also act as a chance for an extended breather between "acid attacks". These pieces do throw the listener off the trail though, as the contrast between them and the acid tracks makes the industrial acid all the more shocking and brutal. With Richard D. James, you can never be sure if this was an unfortunate accident in an attempt to please everyone or a deliberate move on his part to make his music even less accessible (which wouldn't surprise anyone).

It's because of this that a remarkable amount of concentration is needed when attempting DrukQs. Much like Autechre's EP7, it's the little twists and variations that are the most moving, like the last piece of a jigsaw fitting into place as suddenly what once seemed a mess sounds perfect. Because, admittedly, when you first begin to listen to DrukQs it sounds exactly like a mess, but the beauty of it is that once you're done with the album everything makes perfect sense.

Beauty isn't the only attribute of the LP, the frantic drums and heavy bass have more uses than simply contrasting and masking the melody. The sheer momentum of them will sweep the listener up, once they are comfortable enough with the music, and drive them on. This effect doesn't contrast or mask the beauty to be found in DrukQs, it does quite the opposite, it makes it more obvious.

DrukQs isn't for the faint of heart, it's not for those who are proud with themselves because they got into ITAOTS, it's not for those who get bored of an album after a week... DrukQs is for someone who wants more than music, who instead wants a maze that they can explore for months, constantly discovering those moments that make you go "ah, that's the stuff".



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Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Kept back from a 5 due to the issue with accessibility.

For me the 2 defining moments I've had with the music on the album were when it all finally made sense and when Vordhosbn kicked in when I saw him live.

Feedback is welcome.

aok
August 28th 2011



4294 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But it's ever present, despite DrukQs' length there is not one track which lacks it.


should probably be reworked cause i don't know what it is at this point and i'm pretty sure that's a run on.

but i'm so happy to see this get reviewed. i've been having a lot of fun with this album lately, esp cock/ver10 and mt. saint michel and wanted to review this at some point but really would have no idea how to go about it

mvood
August 28th 2011



818 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

how is this in comparison to Richard D James and Ambient Works 85-92?

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeh, I probably shouldn't have gone with a double negative. No idea why I did.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@mvood: completely different but delivers much the same effect. Personally I find it more interesting.

aok
August 28th 2011



4294 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mvood - check it out when you're in a 'i need to get completely warped by ridiculousness' kind of mood. this is probably the most fascinating thing he's ever done imo but it's not nearly as easy to listen to at first

bigmoon
August 28th 2011



118 Comments


The inclusion of a select few very soft, soothing piano pieces is a brief nod to his old albums
uh how

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"uh how"

Because they're soft and calming. Different instrument (well, piano instead of software), but same tone. Is that agreeable?

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Don't think I've ever seen a review have no ratings before... :/ Ah well, at least it means I'm an "individual".

demigod!
August 28th 2011



43888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is some crazy shit right here. I personally think SAW1 is 100 times better.

Digging: Black Flag - My War

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Okay, opinions are good. (:

WashboardSuds
August 28th 2011



4984 Comments


I never read the title as "drug use", I just read it as "drukqs" and pronounced it as such. I think I'm stupid

Digging: Acid Bath - When the Kite String Pops

Rev
August 28th 2011



9382 Comments


^ 123

Manic_
August 28th 2011



447 Comments


yeah you aren't alone there Washboard

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2011



30882 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really? I've always called it drug use

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Manic_
August 28th 2011



447 Comments


yeah i never really gave it any thought, its like discovering Boards of Canada aren't from Canada all over again

nice dig btw

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2011



30882 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, we must shop at the same store

aok
August 29th 2011



4294 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i always just pronounced it drukqs ..

also, this should def be the default cause that other review is pretty awful

Manic_
August 29th 2011



447 Comments


well we know that now, its in the review

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 29th 2011



6366 Comments


devs right btw its supposed to be pronounced drug use

Well I'll be damned...

Still don't know what to think of this album...

Digging: Shackleton - Deliverance Series No. 1



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