Richard D. James. Caustic Window. Polydon Window. AFX. Aphex Twin.
Call him what you like, the producer has become a by-word in electronic innovation. Continually throwing off the shackles of expectations - seriously, check out the divided reaction to his latest LP - Aphex Twin has built up a near peerless catalogue.
With recent album 'Syro' dominating End Of Year polls, the producer decided to start the year as he means to go on.
Releasing inquisitive new EP 'Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt2' (Clash review HERE), Aphex Twin has yet again proved unwilling to rest on his laurels.
Clash rounded up seven producers to discuss his work - each were allowed to nominate just one tune...
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'Digeridoo' - as nominated by worriedaboutsatan
We first heard this track when we were leaving school in 2000 and it was a huge introduction in the world of electronic music. It was back when the words 'sampler' and 'sound module' were still totally fresh to us and although we'd never actually seen that kind of equipment (or knew what it did) we really lusted after it. We were too young to be going to acid parties, so we'd have to imagine how we'd feel if we heard 'Digeridoo' through a proper system. Words like 'acid' and 'techno' were alien to us, we just took this track for what it is - a massive TB-303 line with some insane drums, which essentially IS all it is! It's over 20 years old and still sounds absolutely huge, it's a real ear battering of a track.
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'Analogue Bubblebath' - as nominated by Fink
I have an original copy of 'Analogue Bubblebath', one of my most treasured peices of vinyl, a gift from a dear friend. A track so perfect that you can still play it out now. Compared with his later stuff it's mild, but at the time - it blew the doors off! A ravey riff gives you the timeframe - but this was actual Music - all of his ambient stuff was - that's what was so groundbreaking about. It was Music, and art, not just rave... That's why it sounds just as cool today as it did then. AFX was part of a revoution in music, and 'Analogue Bubblebath' was the first piece of the puzzle in my opinion.
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'Tha' - as nominated by Exercise One
It's hard to chose a favourite! But I'll go where my love for the music of Aphex Twin began. It was 'Tha' that opened my world to the never-ending cosmos of Richards music and since then I'm addicted and amazed. All sideprojects included. 'Tha' is a cinematic slow motion warehouse rave track with a long after-hour included. The space, the beautiful sequenced melody and this well defined mood ' ha' offers grabs you immediately and doesn´let you go till the end. all underlined with that highly recognisable percussion beat in 135 bpm. 'Tha' is graceful and leaves you breathless, as it's delicately produced but at the same time very powerful. 'Tha' is a pure beautiful trip dressed in a warm long reverb. A track where the good pills from the 90s fitted perfectly! For me 'Tha' is one of his most timeless tracks.
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'Pulsewidth' - as nominated by Argy from Argy & Mama
I love it because it combines some of my favourite musical genres such as Krautrock and Acid House, all in one track. The synth lines could be from an Ashra (Manuel Göttsching) album, way before Aphex's time and the beats and whole mood in general is what inspired me and Mama to make an album which would reference early UK Rave artists. In general I find that British producers have a talent in blending different styles in their songs in an original way. The Balearic chords as well as the drum programming would make it the perfect Hacienda Club soundtrack.
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'Fingerbib' - as nominated by Claude Speeed
I'm kind of obsessed with 'Gwarek2', and I reckon 'Windowlicker' is a strong shout for best single ever, but my favourite track has got to be from the 'RDJ' album. In the summer of 1999 I was obsessively listening to this and playing Driver, muted, on the PlayStation. The combination was amazing to me, Driver basically makes no fucking sense: it's made entirely of 70s car chases where you have to escape from hundreds of homicidal skynet controlled cop cars in some alternate San Francisco with moon gravity. 'Fingerbib' enhances the weird mix the best. It's so perfect for flying a car down a crazy gradient street, bouncing off buildings, digital blue skies and flashing lights, a total 'Wizard Of Oz' soundtrack turning it into a 90s computer acid dreamscape. And that warbly synth (an MS20? I dunno) is legitimately one of my favourite sounds of my whole life.
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'Avril 14th' - as nominated by Naomi Pilgrim
The first time I heard this record I was mid-teen and had a lot of shit on my plate. This particular song has been with me ever since and it always put me in the mood where I wanna whirl in the wind like the plastic bag in the movie American Beauty. 'Avril 14th' is epic and sounds like freedom. It's emotional, powerful, fragile and strong all at the same time.
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'Lichen' - as nominated by WIFE
There is simplicity and sincerity to the 'Lichen' that speaks volumes more to me than any other Aphex Twin track and I consider much of his minimal work to be his most timeless. I generally like Aphex Twin most when he is exercising what appears to be restraint and 'Lichen' is not only one example of this, but is also a very pure representation the melodic sensibilities that are prevalent throughout his work in general. 'Lichen' is an incredible stand alone piece but in the shadow of much of other Aphex Twin output, particularly the more full on tracks, I find that it glows brighter.
Related: Aphex Twin Interviewed
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