Many of the modern era’s greatest electronic musicians also happen to be legitimate computer and technology geeks. Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, is no exception. The 46-year-old British musician has spent decades making music with an incredible range of analog and digital synthesizers
(more details here
), and one of his most impressive albums, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments
, was made by programming robots to play live instruments to his exact specifications.
I can go on about James’ nerd cred (including his decision to initially announce his 2014 “comeback” record Syro
via deep-web links
), but his lengthy, diverse, and weird collection of music does the talking—and now you have an easier way to access it than ever. A month-long countdown at the official Aphex Twin site concluded on Thursday, and with it came a near-complete vault of James’ recording output since 1991
. It includes a full store where fans can buy uncompressed FLAC and compressed MP3 versions of his albums, EPs, and even myriad side projects recorded under weird aliases (AFX, Polygon Window, The Tuss, etc).
Should you be short on cash, James still lets you use the site’s embedded streaming audio player for unlimited listening to his entire catalog. This is notable for a few reasons, but the biggest is that James’ new shop includes hours
of previously unreleased material from pretty much every phase of his career. His breakout 1995 album …I Care Because You Do
has been bolstered with a whopping seven new, lengthy tracks (and they’re quite good), while most of his albums, EPs, and singles now include additional demo recordings and isolated-element remixes. (The original template for his single “Windowlicker” is a fascinating newbie, for example, though certainly not as weird as its eventual version—which received a bizarre music video ( probably NSFW
) with James’ face slapped onto bikini-clad, water-soaked models.)
Whether you’re new to Aphex Twin’s discordant, glitchy aesthetic, or you lost track of the musician during his 13-year “retirement” that ended in 2014, this free, streaming archive is as good a place as any to catch up and let the man’s modulation ring in your eardrums. The collection is not perfect—especially since it lacks a convenient play/pause button—but, hey, you get what you pay for. The site also promises more tunes to come, particularly from James’ “Rephlex” period.