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Aphex Twin Show review by Zach Leary 1997

PostModernVancouver from Gorgeous Ultra Urbanie Hip Vancouver on 2001-04-06 02:03 [#00002769]

The Plight of the Aphex Twin.
By Zach Leary

Richard D. James is a rather banal name for this musician
who goes by the handle of Aphex Twin. He is man who has
almost single handily stretched the boundaries of music to
new heights, heights so high that it falls into the sphere
of alien culture. I suppose we humans call it music. Music
that gets lumped into the category of hard-core progressive
techno, ambient, or simply 'electronica' (new industry buzz

When talking about the Aphex Twin I abhor categories. Mr.
Twin makes the whole idea of labeling music a trite and
useless task. For over ten years, Richard James has been one
of the founding revolutionaries of techno-rave music. His
passion for being experimental and himself being somewhat
mad has elevated him to the level of culture guru. His
performance on September 20 at the Organic '97 festival
outside of Los Angeles has, in my mind, elevated him to some
kind of alien demi god.

I for one don't think this man is human, I think he's an
alien in the form of an English lad. The transmission that
fit into a one hour set was without a doubt a gorgeous,
melting, tingling, confusing, sophisticated abduction of
sound and vision.

Sitting on the back of the stage, barley visible, with a
Powerbook revving, Aphex Twin tore the roof of the
mothership. Of all the hundreds of concerts I've been too,
I've never witnessed a more original display of ones
inherent talent. It was as if he let us jack into his brain
for an hour. I tell you that this is no ordinary brain. The
collective mothership of 2000 people in the warehouse would
agree. We were all transported billions of miles to another
solar system, then slammed into contact with another
species. The conversation with this other species came in
form of a dozen or so different song textures woven by the
Aphex Twin. We've all seen so many movies, read so many
books dealing with the perplexing subject of alien contact.
But when it actually happens, as it did on Saturday, the
predicament is so overwhelming that tears of joy burst out
of my feeble eyes. This is a new page in music, a new page
for our culture. It seems that Richard James is on a mission
to make music that is totally, undeniably original. That in
itself is a hard task. An electronic music artist's agenda
is to weave sound into another realm, with the possibility
of even another planet coming into play.

Richard D. James is the crown prince of what music should be
about, techno, rock, jazz or classical, the point is all the
same: making sound become much more than it seems.


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