There has been, and never will be, anything that comes close to Aphex Twin. Richard D James has created an alias that takes the blueprint of techno/dance music and born out of it, came something beyond comprehension or categorisation. Splicing ambient and experimental soundscapes with industrial and classical elements and then taking it further by layering instruments and sampling, he takes the listener on a trip like no other.
Add to this an almost reclusive nature of the man himself as he releases albums/EPs/singles whenever he likes, often with sparse packaging and without any explanation or warning about said music. He also a knack of attracting directors who create some of the most incredible videos to accompany his songs and you really are left with a true one off in Aphex Twin.
And so, in classic Aphex Twin style, we suddenly have a new song, CIRKLON3, taken from the new EP Cheetah. Beginning with some twisted old school game music (which continues on and off throughout), we are then treated to a gorgeous synth tune and driving drum machine beats and snares. Bursts of keyboard chords swirl and distort, eerie off kilt programming gives it an unease and darkness and a funk bass synth backbone builds the song up to a creepy end. Multiple listens reveal John Carpenter type sequences, a delicate background sway and lost echoes of industrial metal. It’s dark. It’s beautiful. It’s thick. It’s deep…it’s Aphex Twin.
And yet, with the accompanying video…it’s so much more. Directed (and edited) by 12 year old Ryan Wyer, it gives us a very realistic and honest glimpse into his life. The bulk of the video sees Ryan dancing on the street with his friends (often wearing a Richard D James mask and an Aphex Twin t-shirt) and alone in his room. He utilises colour schemes, speeds up and slows down footage, gives us some incredible camera angles, uses great locations and filters shots to match the feel of the music. He is both fan and DJ, and, director and star. What could have just been a home video of kids messing about is actually a slice of community life…a snap shot of a street with terraced houses and parked cars, bent signs and all. Its very poignant but also manages to retain the horror and disturbing feel of recent Aphex Twin videos…outstanding!