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July 24, 2000 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-07-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Aphex Twin continues
electronic exploration


Richard D. James is the man who made
dissonance beautiful Under the moniker
Aphex Twin, he breeds musical contradic-
tions like a birthing
.......'' mammalian instru-
Grade: B ment. No two peo-
ple can agree on
Aphex Twin what he sounds like.
Melodies From His "songs" are so
Mars dissimilar that he
Internet release begs revaluation
Reviewed by every time the track
Daily Arts Writer number changes.
Joshua Gross Rappers praise his
beats and despise
his distorted, psychotic mixing. DJs don't
understand him. Cltbbers simply refuse to
dance. Place him in a cathedral and he will
bqroultaneously crucified for the demon-
ic 1swling of "I want your soul" and saint-
ed for the ethereal crooning of "Nannou."
Aphex Twin has carned comparisons to
James Joyce, Brian Eno, Phil Glass, Photek,
John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Wagner, and
Mozart. Words that could describe his
music were censored byrthe gods long ago.
He transcends description. But one must at
least attempt. Always playing the worm
tra orming into the moth, Aphex Twin
br s his cocoon once more with a new
style and a wholly original work in his new
album, "Melodies From Mars." Resisting
normality like a cancer, he has again defied
prediction by only allowing the album to be
released on the Internet. He considers it less
af a masterpiece than an experimentation
urd offers it for free (it may be obtained
hrough Napster on peak hours) to his audi-
'nce's critical listening.
Once again, Aphex has injected his
synethic brand of musical morphine into the
A es heel of harmony and melody. One
:an imagine him sitting in a laboratory, sur-
ounded by beakers, crossbreeding beats
rrd waitinr for the deranged children to

The genius himself, Richard D. James.
hatch. This time, his children are very, well,
different. In the school of musical genres,
thy would be chained, ridiculed, and exiled
to the wasteland. Because jazz, classical,
rock, rap, teclrno, even experimental can
barely grasp the essence of what "Melodies
From Mars" really is.
Each song on the album is untitled.
Aphex Twin does not even do us tie cour-
tesy of attempting to describe them with a
title; they simply exist. Song #1 seems to be
a battle-hymn to invertebrates. Song #4 imi-
tates the dying moans of an animate bouncy
ball. Song #5 whines. Song #8 recreates the
experience of dancing to a keyboard samba
demo while laughing uncontrollably, a side
effect of the ether Song #11 is tribal some-
how, reminiscent of primitive instruments
enhanced by alien technology. In these
songs especially, Aphex mocks structure, he
mocks order, he mocks music, he mocks all
that is pure and good in the universe.
Surprisingly, what he does, whatever it is, is
actually entertaining.
The album begs the influence of phanra-
ceuticals. However, it may be enjoyed orr
merit alone. Odds are pretty good that it
won't impress your Backstreet Boys adoring
girlfriend or get people dancing at your fra-
ternity party this weekend. Similar to all of
Richard D. James' many distinct albums, it
is not for evervbodv


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