I've been listening to Aphex Twin lately. His Selected Ambient Works Vol. II has been my go-to chillout album since I bought it in 1999. To this day, when I am stressed out or overwhelmed I put it on.
Aphex Twin is an Irishman by the name of Richard D. James. He went to music school, so his take on electronica has more theory and talent behind it than your average e'd out 90s producer. As a result, his music is less groovy and more disturbing than other producers of the same era. His music falls into the irritatingly-named category IDM, or intelligent dance music. In general I haven't been impressed with the few IDM artists I've come across, but Aphex Twin is a different story. He's a little like a drug-addled 90s Brian Eno, using electronic instruments and studio engineering to take music in directions that few other people have dared to go.
I've been getting through his 1995 Richard D. James album. There are a lot of glitchy drum'n'bass beats, but it is tempered with interesting and often beautiful compositions. I've listened to it a few times and so far enjoyed what I've heard. I also bought his last album, 2001's Drukqs.
His videos are always incredibly weird. He did several in the late nineties with Chris Cunningham where his face is prominently featured. In the 10 minute long video for "Window Licker" there are a whole series of video hoochies with his face. It's the stuff of nightmares.
Chris Cunningham later did a video called "Monkey Drummer" set to Aphex Twin's "Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michaels Mount," off of Drukqs.
It's not the kind of music you can just sit down and listen to, but when I'm in the mood for something that pushes the envelope and is a little disturbing, I turn to good old Richard D.
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