I Can Barely Cope

It’s been 13 long and cruel winters since the last Aphex Twin album and our resident columnist can’t believe a new one is here. He’ll be too twitchy to actually listen to it, mind

illustration: steve appleton

I need to sit down for a bit. Is that gin or Windowlene? It doesn’t matter,I’m taking a shot. Something very Important has happened.

Imagine ‘The White Album’ stapled to ‘Blue Lines’ glued to ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ sewn into Vengaboys’ ‘We Like To Party’. Now imagine those albums landing on the moon, shooting JFK, dying for your sins, then inventing sliced bread.

This. Is. Huge.

I’m talking about the long-awaited new album from Aphex Twin, of course, the biggest music moment since Stock and Aitken put an advert in Loot fora Waterman.

Let’s rewind to the 1990s. While the mainstream fawned over Blair and admired Ginger Spice’s union jack flag dress, Richard D James gazed into his keyboards’ navels looking for something different. With records ranging from the introspective masterpiece ‘Selected Ambient Works 85-92’ to the ear-busting ‘Come To Daddy’, he became the Cornish poster boy for post-80s digitalism. 

Some of it was as dark as hell. People talk about the bearded babes of ‘Windowlicker’, but his partnership with video artist Chris Cunningham also gave us ‘Rubber Johnny’, a shadowy horror that had my television cowering in the basement for weeks.

Aphex faded in the noughties, giving the limelight to other digital deities – Squarepusher, Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Keane. Alright, I lied about Keane.

Then this year, two things happened. Pasty-faced bedroom musicians rattled a coin tin on Kickstarter so they could dust off James’ long-lost ‘Caustic Window’ album. Then out of nowhere, Warp Records threw up a blimp. They vomited it into the sky above Hackney. “2014” was emblazoned on the side of the blimp, with the “0” containing Aphex Twin’s iconic logo. “Fake and gay,” declared the internet and everyone went back to their cat videos.

But the stage was set. The day before me writing this column, Aphex announced his new album via Tor, an underbelly of the internet known as the Deep Web. I can barely cope with Google doodles, so announcing your new album on the Deep Web is a bit like smearing the news in grease behind a fridge as far as I’m concerned. A dozen tracks were listed, with titles like ‘syro u473t8+e’, ‘s950tx16wasr10’ and ‘Somewhere Only We Know’. Alright, I lied about ‘Somewhere Only We Know’.

I’m sick with anticipation; I can barely cope. What if it’s all a joke and this is a hilarious yet eternal ‘Noel’s House Party’ ‘Gotcha’ prank? What if his new stuff sounds like Robson & Jerome? Or just Jerome?

Someone hold me. For the love of Aphex, someone hold me.

Aphex Twin’s ‘Syro’ is out on Warp

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