sun 26/05/2024

Album: Aphex Twin - Blackbox Life Recorder 21f | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Aphex Twin - Blackbox Life Recorder 21f

Album: Aphex Twin - Blackbox Life Recorder 21f

Electronica outlier returns with some uneasy listening

'Stays within James’ long marked-out territory of electronic uneasy listening'

Blackbox Life Recorder 21f may have been originally touted as a mini-album but, in reality, it’s an EP with four tunes spread over just under a quarter of an hour and one of those is a remix of the title track. However, it is also the first new material released by Richard James, under his Aphex Twin moniker in five years.

James has been skulking around in the darklands of electronic experimental music since the early 90s, often popping his head above the parapet with flashes of brilliance, such as “Digeridoo” in 1992 and later, “Come to Daddy” and “Windowlicker”. However, in his Aphex Twin guise, James has had far more in common with the DIY punk scene or the delirious strangeness of the Butthole Surfers than with the smooth sounds of many of his electronica contemporaries who emerged from the slipstream of the early 90s techno and drum’n’bass scenes. So, it is with his new tunes.

The title track begins as a cinematic drone with more than slightly sinister undertones that soon eases itself into something more energetic before wandering back and forth between the two in its dystopian vibe. “zin2 test5”, which could be named after one of Elon Musk’s kids, is an ambient breakbeat track with more than enough zip to keep thing interesting, while “In a Room7 F760” is livelier and more beat-heavy with an eye on the dancefloor. The Parallax mix of “Blackbox Life Recorder 21f” on the other hand, is particularly claustrophobic with a grubby atmosphere that maintains plenty of the cinematic drone of the original.

In short, the new Aphex Twin disc stays within James’ long marked-out territory of electronic uneasy listening but remains inventive and innovative and will probably have plenty of rock bands beating a path to his door to get him to produce their next albums. He will, no doubt, pass up the opportunity.

The new Aphex Twin disc stays within Richard James’ long marked-out territory of electronic uneasy listening but remains inventive and innovative

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4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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