Aphex Twin released his Collapse EP last week and is now teasing something at four different locations in London on Aug. 18. In an Instagram post from his label, Warp Records, a gray map of London appears, stretching from the West End to the edge of Shoreditch. Four locations are marked with Aphex Twin’s logos with the addresses and times below. The caption reads “LONDON. LOOK OUTSIDE TONIGHT.”
His critically acclaimed Collapse project followed his 13-years-in-the-making 2014 Syro album, which was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. The music video for the first single, “T69 Collapse,” was pulled at the last minute of its TV premiere for failing the Harding Test, which is an epilepsy sensibility measurement for television content.
Aphex Twin isn’t mood music — it’s public transportation. The reclusive mastermind has built his undeniable legend on creating music that worms its way into minds, scrambling conventional electronic music expectations along the way. The artist carries on that tradition with a new five-track EP called Collapse, arriving via his own Warp Records imprint.
In typical Aphex Twin fashion, the EP is a front-to-back treasure trove of brain-bending analog sounds. “1st 44” blasts off with monstrous 808s, before detonating into a dizzying percussion jam, while “MT1 t99r2” brings things deeper into a detuned synth scape punctuated by twinkling bell-like plucks. “Abundance10edit” dials the energy down a bit for a tripped-out interlude, but the madness soon returns at breakneck speed with the acid-infused “pthex.”
The EP’s lead single, “T69 collapse,” was initially slated to premiere as a music video on Adult Swim, but failed TV seizure safety protocol for excessive strobing. While eyes may have been spared, minds are still very much in danger of melting from the electronic legend’s latest work.
Richard D. James is so cagey about his public presence that his fame seems to border on the unilateral. He can go 13 years without releasing a proper album, anonymously drop hundreds of unreleased tracks onto Soundcloud, and plant portentous Aphex Twin logos on edifices around the globe, all while operating more or less sub rosa. From there, his fans take these elusive “publicity” tactics and bring them to the attention of the world at large. James seems to cultivate himself as the ascetic studio craftsman, wishing only to toil away in obscurity but for his ravenous fans who shine the spotlight on him time and again.
By virtue of their ceaseless fervor and intuitive sleuthing, Aphex Twin constituents have willed Richard D. James into the enigmatic lodestar of electronic music that he’s known as today. So on Collapse, his latest EP under the Aphex name, there’s a certain antipathy and cynicism present, a kind of misanthropy that could be found in a hermit who revels in mystery and only offers fleeting, furtive indications of his existence. In typical Aphex Twin fashion, the percussion is busy and disorienting, yet his synthesizers suggest more of a malaise. On “1st 44,” the keyboards sound lethargic over the intricate, fussy rhythms. On “abundance10edit[2 R8’s, FZ20m & a 909],” they feel nebulous and errant, as the song meanders with uncertainty before finally disappearing into an ether of hazy synth sounds. Nervousness and disaffection are evoked continuously on the EP, and James channels them with a masterful sense of conflict between man and machine.
Collapse strives to alienate. The few human voices present on the record feel warped and unnatural; the child’s murmur on “MT1 t29r2” sounds monotone and unnervingly distant under the rest of the song’s production. “Give me your hand, my friend, and I will lead you to the land of abundance, joy, and happiness,” a woman assures us, with a suspicious amount of placidity, on “abundance10.” And while this soundbite is buried under sonic dust and other detritus, James proceeds to chop and screw it as the song progresses until the words “joy” and “happiness” are reduced to abstractions, more ominous than comforting. The overall effect is a bit trite, but it’s the captivating instrumentation here that redeems the track.
While James is here less austere than on Cheetah EP and less eccentric than on landmark release Richard D. James Album, Collapse nevertheless proves to be a serviceable Aphex Twin release at this point in his career. His knack for finding interesting textures and layers hasn’t been compromised nor has his willingness to build off of previous styles in his oeuvre. Collapse is a step away from James’s forays into ambient and jungle of the past, but the Aphex Twin identity still shines through in his inimitable take on IDM. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
For more than a decade now, we’ve all been watching poor, lonely Hauschka do the “prepared piano” thing seemingly in isolation. So thank the lord that Kelly Moran is around to keep him company (and to make the prepared piano landscape a little more variable for us listeners!).
Her breakout record — 2017’s Bloodroot — is similar to the preceding Optimist in the way that its diversions from the assumed melodic paths are more common than not. Sparse notation is a feature as well on numerous tracks, and generally we’re left with a feeling that the world is spinning and that it owes us no favors. It’s pretty and not. It’s orderly and not!
Warp Records must’ve picked up on these unique talents, because they recently reached an agreement with Moran to release at least one new album. Ultraviolet is set for release November 2, and the goal, according to a press release, was to “annihilate” “experimental music’s imposing, esoteric, über-academic status quo in the name of pure, unbridled intuition” and “human joy.” In order to gain inspiration, Moran “squatted down in the forest, listening to the sounds of the wind and the wildlife” and wondered what it would take to make her music mirror the feel of her surroundings.
Pre-order the results here and (almost) gain the power of flight with the first single “Helix (Edit)” below:
03. Water Music
05. In Parallel
So it kinda goes without saying that, when he announces a small round of fall world tour dates — with the likes of Blood Orange, no less — peeps are already pretty much 100% $OLD.
But since he can’t resist going above and beyond the call of duty, Bowie has sweetened the announcement even more by sharing the new video for his latest single on Warp. “Licking An Orchid Ft. James K” was “written, arranged and produced by Yves Tumor” and co-produced by Justin Raisen — and, in addition to drums by Evan Johns and bass by Luke Niccoli, it (well, duh) features vocals by Yves Tumor and James K (I know: these sound like some pretty ROCK AND ROLL details for a Warp single, but don’t worry; the song is still equal-parts minimalist, hypnotic, and terrifying).
You can watch the Daniel Sannwald-directed video clip for “Licking An Orchid Ft. James K” down below and grab the single RIGHT NOW from Warp.
You cannot, however, go see Yves Tumor perform live around the world until at least next month. So, don’t even try (believe me, I already did; and it didn’t work AT ALL).
Single Artwork: Isamaya Ffrench
Yves we can:
09.26.18 – New York, NY – Central Park Summerstage *
09.27.18 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore Philadelphia *
09.28.18 – Washington, DC – Lincoln Theatre *
10.01.18 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall *
10.02.18 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall *
10.05.18 – Warsaw, PL – Avant Art
10.06.18 – Prague. CZ – Lunchmeat Festival
10.12-13.18 – Atlanta, GA – Afropunk Festival
11.08.18 – Utrecht, NL – Le Guess Who Festival
11.10.18 – Barcelona, ES – Mira Festival
Aphex Twin‘s built considerable hype behind his next project with the appearance of his logo on posters worldwide —including London, Italy, Hollywood, and New York City. Now, a teaser that was posted on Aphex’ record label’s Twitter account, Warp Records, suggests fans might just reap the benefits of the escalating anticipation after all. The cryptic image contains some text clues, and while most of the decipherable words are broken up, a few words do appear multiple times — Collapse EP.
A 3D logo eerily resembling that of the renowned IDM producer Aphex Twin has sparked considerable speculation after surfacing in London’s Elephant and Castle Underground Tube Station.
Since surfacing on Instagram, many have grown to believe that Richard D James may be using the posters as promotional material for his seventh album, or at the very least teasing out the possibilities of some upcoming 3D London shows. Speculation is largely based on the fact that the guerrilla marketing campaign closely resembles a similar trail that led to Aphex Twin’s 2014 album, Syro, which was announced with a flying blimp in London as well as logo stencils in US cities.
Further support for the new music, comes from the fact that Aphex was said to have resided in a former bank vault in Elephant & Castle, following the release of his seminal Come To Daddy EP — making the location choice for the posters a considerbly eerie coincidence.
Whoever coined the phrase “too much of a good thing” clearly did so before tasting Red Lobster’s renowned Cheddar Bay Biscuits.
On an unrelated note: legendary electro-duo Autechre have released a ton of music over the past few years (and there are zero signs of fatigue among fans who’ve grown accustomed to having their brains aurally transported to new, exciting, and possibly epiphanic heights). The deluge arguably started with the sequential release of nine live albums over the course of 2015 (though they were all relatively similar sounding) and continued with the more than four-hour-long studio album elseq in 2016. Then, this year, the duo took up residency at the London-based NTS Radio, where they ultimately recorded over eight hours of brand new music.
Physical box sets of those of NTS Sessions were previously alluded to; and now, at last, Warp and Autechre have coughed up a release date. August 24 is when you’ll be able to purchase your environmentally-deleterious choice of either 12 LPs or 8 CDs (more ecologically-minded digital downloads of the sessions will be available as well). Listen to the NTS sessions here, pre-order them here, and clear your late-August schedule now.
Oh, and just FYI: real AE heads will set aside eight hours to listen to the whole thing. No bathroom breaks allowed. The bladder pressure heightens the experience.
Milan, Italy is the home to many many pigeons and stylish people. It is also the home to Primitive Art, the electronic duo made up of Matteo Pit and Jin C. Nedd, who have the honor of siring the latest release for the freshly re-awakened Warp sub-label Arcola.
The pair’s Crab Suite EP will be released digitally and on 12-inch on June 22 and features four tracks of icy and pummelling electronic soundscapery. Pit and Nedd have been quiet since their 2013 debut, and the tracks on Crab Suite were recorded in 2016 and have been hiding (like a crab under a rock?) on the group’s hard drive, just waiting for the right moment to scuttle out into the Warp oeuvre.
In the meantime, the members of the group have been busy compiling mixes of rare Columbian jams for Honest Jon’s and running one of Italy’s best known club circuits (Club Adriatico). By which we mean to say these dudes are legit…or as the Italians say: legittimo.
Speaking of legitimacy, you can also catch Primitive Art at MOMA PS1 in New York in September. For now, though, stay tuned for EP ordering information and please enjoy TMT’s legittimo premiere of Crab Suite’s opening track “Recall Your Bones.”
What more do you need to know? After releasing two EPs for the venerable electronica label — Spaghetto and The Spectacular Empire (not to mention a few self-released mixtapes for good measure) — Warp Records is turning shit up up UP by finally announcing the release of Brixton-based Gaika’s proper debut full-length album.
Need more factual incentives? How about these apples:
Due July 27 on digital (with other, slightly less-electro-tinged formats to follow), Basic Volume’s 15 tracks — which include production from the likes of SOPHIE, Jam City, Dre Skull, and more — freely intermingle some primo signifiers of British reggae, gothic-dancehall, and soundsystem culture with some deep-ass ideas concerning race, personal philosophies, and political ideologies. “My thing has always been: be yourself — whatever you are, be that — and people will walk towards it,” Gaika says. “I am whatever I say I am. And I want that to apply to all people of colour, all black people. This idea of what we like, make, do and how our art can be defined from outside of us is something I’ll actively try to disrupt.”
I’m sure you’re sold by now, but just to kick the tantalization dial up another notch, check out the new video for album single “Crown & Key” (directed by Paco Raterta) down below, which you can purchase now while you wait for the rest of Basic Volume’s basic volumetric volume to materialize.