Richard D. James returns with a new Aphex Twin project, “Collapse EP.” Hints of the EP’s release were noted when the Aphex Twin logo was spotted around underground stations in London. This new EP continues a series of music projects James has made since he brought back the Aphex Twin moniker.
For a man who is now considered one of the greatest electronic musicians, you would think he would slow down making music because he is past his prime, but there are no signs of him stopping. The last four years have seen him release new music that is very enjoyable. 2014’s “Syro” and 2015’s “MARCHROMT30a Edit 2b 96” showcase great late-career projects.
“Collapse” is no different, in fact, this could be one of best projects James has made. The entire 28-minutes the EP runs kept me on edge. “T69 Collapse” starts with thumping synthesizers that collide with a high-pace drum pattern. As the song progresses, it breaks down into a barrage of spastic and chaotic instrumentation that is reminiscent to the Sonic Youth song, “Silver Rocket.”
“1st 44” contains incoherent vocals that bring a sound akin to what Death Grips is doing. It brings a sort of intense moment before you are relaxed with the rumbling bass and the little melodies sprinkled throughout the track. The more I listen to it, I can imagine this track fitting into a YouTube video where you see a quick time lapse of something being built.
“MT1 t29 r2” is my personal favorite from the EP. The high static bells and the high pace drums remind me of the days I would spend hours leveling up on a video game. As I listen to the song, I think back to the long hours that I’ve spent on Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts. In fact, I can imagine a short video summarizing those hours while the entire track plays. The last two tracks “abundance10edit[2 R8’s, FZ20m & a 909]” and “pthex” bring the fun into the EP, but I find myself wanting to go back to the first three tracks more.
Whether you’re studying, working out, or editing a video, Aphex Twin’s music is the kind of electronic music that is perfect for these situations. Yes, it’s not one you can play at a party, but it never sets out to be and it shows how far a person’s imagination can stretch. Honestly, this helps you focus on the task at hand.
As much as I love the classics such as “Selected Ambient Works 85-92” and the “Richard D. James Album,” I can tell their age from not only the year they came out, but the instrumentation themselves. “Collapse” brings the eccentric characteristic of before but with a nice update that is fitting for the times.
To conclude, “Collapse” continues James’ streak of albums that show his legacy for a new generation. For anyone who is new to Aphex Twin and loves this EP, you should definitely check out his older work and see the evolution. For long time fans, we’re glad to see him still making music we love.
Track Picks: “T69 Collapse,” “1st 44,” and “MT1 t29 r2”
Label: Warp Records