Nearly Perfect Albums #26

Drukqs – Aphex Twin

I know I have probably said this before but of all the bands and artists that appear on this list, it was the Aphex Twin that caused me the most selection problems.  Because, any of his releases could have made this list, well apart from ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol 1’ because that is actually perfect and therefore barred from this list.  For a long time I was going with ‘I Care You Because You Do’ and then I was going with ‘Richard D James’ but in the end I went with the 30 track, 100 minute epic that is ‘Drukqs’ with its impenetrable songs titles and its classical piano interludes.

Kladfvgbubg Micshk – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)

The first time I ever listened to ‘Drukqs’ I was driving to Bristol for a meeting.  I remember constantly fiddling with the volume knob, turning up the ambient hums and then frantically turning down the splintered breakbeats and scary squelchy noises. 

It’s a wonderful listen, the music on it ranges from drum n bass that frankly pounds you in the face repeatedly and then runs off laughing in true Aphex style.  It has techno that people with well-manicured beards would say is ‘intellectual’.  It has techno that is so mad it would make a horse dribble with excitement.  It has early 90s rave flashbacks, it has 80s style electro workouts, it even has Richard D James’ parents singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him and on one occasion, it has what sounds like a backward version of ‘Silent Night’ performed by a team of amateur belllringers.  Naturally its all total genius, well apart from the track ‘Bit 4’ which appears to be nothing more than an electronic groan, but even that doesn’t seem out of place.

Btoum- rounada – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)

Lornaderek – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)

As I’ve kind of hinted above, it’s a proper mismash of an album, with no tracks across the 100 minutes sounding anywhere near similar to each one. It’s never dull and is always original.  You get regular dancefloor bangers mingling with ambient abstract piano interludes. Piano interludes like this

Avril 14th – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)

Which on its own has have over 134 million plays on various streaming sites, thanks to its use by Kanye West, John Legend, and various films.  Effectively ‘Avril 14th’ is the biggest hit that Aphex never had.

The best track comes near the end, the eight minute monolith that is ‘Ziggomatic 17’ which flits between being a straight down the line jungle banger to a four to floor rave anthem, it can’t make up it mind and its all the better for it. 

Ziggomatic 17 – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)