Warp - 2001 - 52 mins, 49 mins
The arrival of Aphex Twin's much-anticipated 'Drukqs' is much more than just another album release. Across the musical spectrum, Mr Richard D James generally commands communal respect. Unconventional as ever, this album is a tinderbox of electronic mayhem.
James' specialist brand of drill 'n' bass abounds but it's worth wading through the aural aggro to get to some of the quieter gems. The album is a sonic wave of crests and troughs, from the quiet strings of the beautiful 'Jynweythec Ylow' to the torture-chamber soundtrack of ' Omgyjya Switch 7'.
Not as hard as fellow sound-fudger Squarepusher, James is still one of the captains of the bleeps and blips brigade. Track 5 is a filmic piano lament, while 'Gwely Mernans' is filled with industrial atmospherics that wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack of David Lynch's 'Eraserhead'.
The downbeat hip-hop patterns of 'Orban Eq Trx 4' are funky and chilled while CD 2 opener ' 54 Cymru Beats' pays homage to the old acid house and early jungle days. With this kind of experimental music there is often little perception of the man behind the machines, but 'Lornaderek' features a delightfully humanistic touch: the doting Aphex parents singing 'Happy Birthday' to their son.
Despite blocks of light and dark and the sustained battle of loud over quiet, James has once again managed a magical concinnity. The broadest range of sounds, beats and moods are percolated in a seemingly effortless way. Maybe the drukqs actually do work?
Tracklisting: CD 1: Jynweythek Ylow - Vordhosbn - Kladfvgbung Micshk - Omgyjya Switch 7 - Strotha Tynhe - Gwely Mernans - Bbydhyonchord - Cock/Ver 10 - Avril 14th - Mt. Saint Michel Mix + St. Michaels Mount - Gwarek 2 - Orban Eq Trx 4 - Aussois - Hy a Scullyas Lyf a Dhagrow - Kesson Daslef. CD 2: 54 Cymru Beats - Btoum-Roumada - Lornaderek - Penty Harmonium - Meltphace 6 - Bit 4 -Prep Gwarlek 3B - Father - Taking Control - Petiatil Cx Htdui - Ruglen Holon - Afx237 V7 - Ziggomatic V17 - Beskhu3epnm - Nanou 2