We all know Richard D. James is a crazy motherfudger, but I feel the need to say so again after hearing Hangable Autobulb.
Richard D. James is a crazy motherfudger.
Just listen to the opening track Children Talking
. It sounds like some downie kid made a techno song. The beats are all over the place and they twist and turn into unknown directions. Plus the lyrics go something like this: Masheddddddd potatoesssss
. So if that is not evidence enough to prove he is a crazy motherfudger than I don't know what is.
The Hangable Autobulb singles were definitely an experimental project for AFX back in ol' 95. He drifted away from acid and straight up club beats to a schizophrenic drill 'n' bass format that followed no rules. The title track probably best showcases what I mean. The beats form a giant moving body that is unpredictable and exciting and features very little electronics for 6 minutes. The percussion instruments used for the singles are just as strange as the man himself. Most of the time they sound like someone beating on pots and pans and is best featured on the surprisingly mellow Wabby Legs
which uses subtle synths to create a chill atmosphere. And the obvious filler track Bit, which is 6 seconds long tends to show what kind of creative state AFX was in.
Hangable Autobulb also begins to show Richard D. James improvement in programming. His complex polyrhythm are entrancing and never boring. Custodian Discount
could carry on just as well without electronics because the programming of the percussion is so excellently executed. Also noticeable is the increase of songwriting skills. Rather than sticking to forgettable ambient pieces and acid jams he creates catchy riffs that dig into your skull and stay there. Laughable Butane Bob
will get lodged in your head for days and you'll find yourself humming to Every Day
. But the strongest song on Hangable Autobulb is Arched Maid Via RDJ
which may be one of the greatest songs AFX has ever done. It's full of drilling beats that weave and change through beautifully played synth solos.
Though maybe the weakest part of Hangable Autobulb is it can get a little tiresome. After 34 minutes of drilling beats, believe me, your head will hurt. And while the percussion is magnificent the lack of electronics is a little disappointing. But Hangable Autobulb is essential nonetheless for fans of AFX since it is an important compilation for an experimental time in his career. So if you're wandering where his programming skills really took off and where the weirdness and humor of Come To Daddy came from then look no further because Hangable Autobulb is where its at.