- Audio CD (Jan. 28 1997)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Sire Record Group
- ASIN: B000002HOF
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,331 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Richard D. James Album
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An album that may not quite be about himself, but takes careful note of who he just might be. There is childhood and memory and personal geography simmering under the beats and bleats of this LP. The fact that James used more discretion than ever in assembling the tracks might confirm there is indeed a method to his madness on this one. Some hidden revelations, perhaps, hidden in those grooves? Surf on the serene summery toy train ride of "Fore Street," or search the paedo n' bass recorder group sounds of the mesmerizing "To Cure A Weakling Child." The shining moment, though, just may lie in the chamber orchestra n' bass extravaganza "Girl/Boy Son." Could this album be the autobiographical Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Insect /Citizen James we've all been waiting for? "It's more of a progression," is what he says about the album. "I'm getting more skillful with the machines."
If techno ever does become the sound of young America, don't expect Richard James to be its poster boy, deserving though he may be. A native of Cornwall, England, James is obsessed with the mechanics of music making: As a kid, he took apart and reassembled the living room piano. Under the names Aphex Twin, Polygon Window, AFX, and other aliases too numerous to mention, he showed that he could make entire tracks with the sounds produced by tapping on a Coke can. Like the indie rockers of yore, he revels in his marginality because of the creative freedom it gives him. His full-length U.S. debut, Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1994), includes some of the most serene sounds this side of the Orb, but his favorite hobby is the not-at-all-blissful pastime of driving a Daimler Ferret Mark 3 tank through his parents' backyard.
None of his recordings have captured the competing impulses to lull you to sleep and blast out your eardrums as well as Richard D. James, his third and best album. As the title indicates, James has turned inward for inspiration, painting aural pictures of real and imagined scenes from his west country childhood. "Goongumpas" is a fanciful, playful tune that wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As his adventures with the family upright indicate, James was a bit of a devil even as a child. "Beetles" is the sound of a boy frying bugs on the sidewalk with a magnifying glass, and "To Cure a Weakling Child" shows flashes of the sort of sadism found only on preschool playgrounds. If you still doubt that young Richard developed early on, the romantic Nino Rota-style strings on "Girl/Boy Song" are just made for passionate seductions, and the tune appears in three mixes, each one hot and hornier than the one before.
The raucous undercurrents of even his calmest tunes and the sources of many of his most common sounds are what link James to the rock tradition. With Richard D. James, the artist solidifies his position as an electronic music mastermind who has earned a spot beside such well-respected innovators--whether or not he's destined for stardom. --Jim Derogatis
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There are a handful of real standout tracks on here. The majority sit atop of the album in the beginning starting from the opener 4 to the incredible 4th track Finger Bib. Cornish Acid and Peek are also excellent. All of these songs have a certain concentrated, solid feel to them(especially Finger Bib), marking some of the best material he's made since Ambient 85-92.
The rest of the album is for sure quality. Made up of a concoction of rapidly morphing rhythmic clashes set up against washing, orchestral synths with various levels of sucess. Then there's Milkman. Simultaniously the most hilarious and creepy 4 mintues on any CD he's released. I don't want to say too much other than its one of the later standouts, but for a very strange reason.
If there is one consistancy that James has done over the years is shown that he is truly a visionary when it comes to music and no doubt his backcatalog and even Druqks are proof of that. What seems to be in constant state of flux is his attitude and what he releases seems to be the result of whatever he's going through or however he feels his next release should sound, even if that means it will be completely devoid of listenable material. For that very reason, he can remain in music for how ever long he's want as long as he can continue to snag attention.
P.S. By the way, its a good album. You should buy it.
That was two nights ago, and I have been listening to this album almost non-stop since then. I'm listening to it now. I don't just think this album is good now, I think is amazing. Every song (with maybe the exception of tracks 10 and 11) is awesome, with the standouts being Girl/Boy Song, 4, Corn Mouth, TO Cure a Weakling Child, Goongumpas, and Yellow Calx. But they're really all good. I find this album as a paradox of sorts. It's very abrasive, but yet it also is very dreamy even with the abrasivness. I find I can listen to it, and focus on it, or just play it in the background and be equally satisfied with it. It's very interesting if you want it to be, but also very ambient if you want that. It's very cool to listen to the hard and fast beats, and to catch a glimpse of the ambient song underneath, and that is a great effect. Girl/Boy Song which is my favorite song on the album is absolutely amazing. It's a classical ambient song, but with loud and fast, random beats throughout. My favorite part of the song is around the 3 minute mark where the drums stop, and it becomes straight ambience with the strings for a portion of the song. The ending of that track is very errie sounding, contradicting the positive feel of the majority of the track, almost making it seem that something went wrong at the end. It's all very good though, I just decided to talk about that particular track.
Oh, and one more the thing, have you seen the cover? My god, what a freaky picture. But here's something for you to try. Open the booklet and look at the inside picture directly infront of a light. Damn, it's freaky. Totally caught me off guard the first time I noticed it.
Anyways, this album is awesome. I'm definately gonna try to buy as much Aphex Twin as I can.
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