Aphex Twin
Cheetah EP


3.5
great

Review

by Ocean of Noise USER (30 Reviews)
July 8th, 2016 | 47 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This EP is Aphex Twin’s most low-key, controlled release in a long time, presenting a slight, but welcome departure from the spontaneous character of its companion full-length.

Unlike the avant-garde weirdness of last year’s Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt. 2, the Cheetah EP actually feels like a logical counterpart to SYRO. The electronic instruments are back, with the welcome prominence of analog synthesizers and drum kits creating a warmer, more retro feel to the music than we’ve heard from an Aphex Twin release in quite some time. It’s also somewhat more minimalistic than SYRO; while the latter thoroughly revelled in its spontaneity and carefree (sometimes chaotic) composition, Cheetah pulls on the reins a little bit, resulting in something more controlled, structured and relaxed than anything Richard D. James has released under the Aphex Twin moniker since, dare I say, 1995.

This isn’t to say that Cheetah is superior to SYRO, though. It’s certainly not as consistent; “CHEETA1b ms800” and “CHEETA2 ms800” are both somewhat random-sounding and purposeless, as though James merely added them to the EP as an afterthought. There are definitely some cool colours in those 27 second-and 37 second-long tracks, but they feel underdeveloped and incohesive nonetheless. Despite the presence of these two tracks, though, the majority of Cheetah actually feels quite stable, filled with groovy basslines, bouncy melodic lines and ethereal synth pads that provide a varied and rich atmosphere. It’s not entirely unlike SYRO; there are still a lot of different themes and ideas in a given track that seem to pop effortlessly out of the air. The difference, though, is that there’s always purpose: each track, aside from the aforementioned two, unfolds with a sense of cohesion and narrative that sometimes even resembles the early ambient Aphex Twin releases.

It would be exciting to see Richard D. James take the sonic departure of this EP even further with the next EP or LP. While it is great to hear an Aphex Twin release sounding more stripped-down and low-key than any others in a long time, an even greater focus on consistency next time could give us another Aphex Twin masterwork. James hasn’t exactly been known for creating cleanly organized music in recent years, but the greater discipline and control of the Cheetah EP makes me hopeful that this just might change.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
PostMesmeric
July 8th 2016


702 Comments


Yeah, this was okay. I gushed at Syro, which this had touches of influence, I noticed. Sort of Syro b-sides-y, I suppose.

Ocean of Noise
July 8th 2016


9774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Toad. That's definitely true about my writing now that I think about it.

Digging: Burzum - Filosofem

LotusFlower
July 8th 2016


12002 Comments


Huh, had no idea a new release was on the way.

Ocean of Noise
July 8th 2016


9774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, this was okay. I gushed at Syro, which this had touches of influence, I noticed. Sort of Syro b-sides-y, I suppose.


To me, it sort of sounds like what would have happened if James finished SYRO, listened to Selected Ambient Works 85-92 a few times, then produced a few more tracks in the style of SYRO. So, yes, like b-sides, but a little bit different.

hal1ax
July 8th 2016


9189 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

fucking yawn

hal1ax
July 8th 2016


9189 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i was hoping he would continue down the comp controlled acoustic path

TychoBrahe
July 8th 2016


511 Comments


Nice review. I'm loving that opener and cheetah7b is borderline hypnosis.


iloveyouall
July 8th 2016


6319 Comments


ambient techno is generally fucking yawn, so this being fucking yawn does not surprise me.

Ocean of Noise
July 8th 2016


9774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ambient techno is generally fucking yawn, so this being fucking yawn does not surprise me.


Well, if you don't like IDM, this definitely won't make you a convert.

Nice review. I'm loving that opener and cheetah7b is borderline hypnosis.


I definitely agree that those are the strongest tracks here. My excitement about the EP sort of dwindled as it went on.

Dappnoid
July 9th 2016


61 Comments


"“comeback release”"

how is this a comeback release

Avagantamos
July 9th 2016


5937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

there are two versions of this EP (classic RDJ trolling). the 4:27 CHEETAHT2 [Ld spectrum] on the second version is the hardest banger he's released since drukqs. I'd post a link if I could

Digging: Nathan Fake - Steam Days

Tunaboy45
July 9th 2016


15609 Comments


I'll check this, response seems pretty muted though.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Avagantamos
July 9th 2016


5937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

because most people haven't heard the second version I think. I found it on soulseek and I didn't even realize it was different than the release on the bleep store at first

Avagantamos
July 9th 2016


5937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the track names are the same, but tracks 1, 3, 4, and 6 are different, plus there is a 30 second bonus track, which is just a super condensed version of CIRKLON3 [Kolkhoznaya mix]

Avagantamos
July 9th 2016


5937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also I wouldn't call the mini tracks pointless, they do a great job of showcasing the timbral capabilities of the cheetah ms800 synth

TychoBrahe
July 9th 2016


511 Comments


You sure about there being a second version? It's pretty common for people to upload their own stuff under Aphex's name during new releases. There were a handful of fakes during Syro.

Avagantamos
July 9th 2016


5937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it sounds like aphex 99.99% sure

Avagantamos
July 9th 2016


5937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

idk I might be wrong. if it is fake it's still better. definitely sounds like the cheetah ms800 is being used though

TychoBrahe
July 9th 2016


511 Comments


Skeptical, but will check later. Thanks.

Ocean of Noise
July 9th 2016


9774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"“comeback release”"



how is this a comeback release


I'm referring to SYRO, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt. 2, and this as "comeback releases" because of his long hiatus before releasing SYRO. Do you think I'm wrong in doing so? I'd be happy to change it.



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