Aphex Twin for Beginners

Aphex Twin. As daunting and unapproachable of a discography as you are ever likely to meet, yet despite this his following is huge and its fanatical, one maniac was even willing to part with close to $50,000 for a single copy of an unreleased test print of an album from twenty years ago that had never seen the light of day. So after seeing this sort of sonic extremism last month and then witnessing the internet nearly cave in on itself from all of the hype about the fact that a new album is imminent you must be pretty curious to see what all of the fuss is about. Before you get started on this voyage of musical discovery though here are a few nuggets of thought that will help you a long the way.

Number 1. Its insanely varied. I believe there is something for everyone no matter whether you’re looking for hip-hop vibes, breakcore or techno.

Number 2. Chronology. Listening to this stuff in order and getting a mental idea of how the sound morphed and evolved is gonna be the easiest way for you to learn to navigate this back catalogue and find the sorts of tracks you want to be listening to. It also helps to know what tracks are on what albums due to the fact that its hard to remember names like ‘Bbydhyonchord’ and ‘Schottkey 7th Path’.

Number 3. There is going to be a lot of music here you will not like. You won’t like it the first time you hear it, you won’t like it the fifth time you hear it and you may not like it ever. But like it or not, you’ll remember it and you’ll think about it and you’ll be drawn back to it to try it again, in similar fashion to a goat thinking ‘maybe the fence won’t electrocute me this time…’.

Here are a few tracks that have stood out for me as I continue to dig further into this madman’s mind.

Film – The first Aphex Twin track I really fell in love with, pure beauty.

IZ-US – Sounds like it could be straight off of a Radiohead album.

Alberto Balsalm – As laid back as it gets, with great percussion and beautiful melodies woven throughout.

Rhubarb – Some of his more ambient stuff. Check out a version called Rhubarb Village which has a nice Brian Eno lecture over the top.

Tree – Still ambient, but more terrifying.

Windowlicker – The hit.

Avril 14th – The humble piano sonata that got sampled by Kanye.


Stinky Pete


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