In the mid to late 90s I felt that there was a lot of great music being created, but the most innovative and mind-blowing was in the dance music scene (although I got told off for referring to it as ‘dance’ rather than ‘electronic’). And of all the imaginative and influential musicians in that world, there was one who towered above everyone. Cornish-born Richard D. James – better known as Aphex Twin – was the undisputed Daddy of the genre. With every new recording, he always just seemed to be one step ahead of everyone else, and you knew that within a year you’d hear his influence on everyone else’s recordings.
That creative bubble seemed to deflate by the 00s, and every once in a while I do a little research mission to see if anyone is following on from the crazy inventiveness of that period, and I usually end up disappointed. (Although I’ve only recently discovered www.residentadvisor.net, which I’ve been told is where the genre lives now, so I have a lot more exploring to do.)
But Aphex has been the exception. I’ve been meaning to recommend another of his recent albums for a while, although the moment never seemed quite right.
And then this video for his new track T69 Collapse came out. And it’s the video, made by visual artist Weirdcore, as much as the track that I love.
Now, I’ve read some recent criticism of Aphex on this track: ‘not much that is startling or shocking, or even particularly new…’ And I get that – it’s one of the occupational hazards of being The Great Innovator, I suppose. But personally I disagree, because I think the reason why he was always ahead of the game is that he put emotion above innovation. I don’t think he was driven just by always doing something new for its own sake, and that’s why he has consistently been so great. He is not afraid to create great music that isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel each time.
I think this is a great track, that creates a very specific mood (kind of calm and hyper-anxious at the same time). And I don’t care if it’s not the Future Of Music.
Long may he reign…
Current Favourite Thing:
Seeing this video is the first time in a long time when I’ve thought “I have never seen anything like this before in my life!”