Richard D. James Album
LP | 1996 | US | Reissue (1972)
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Release:1996 / US – Reissue
Genre:Electronic / Dance
In a career full of brilliant, groundbreaking music, the Richard D.James Album remains Aphex Twin’s drill ’n’ bass masterpiece. Itwas James’s fourth and most widely popular full-length to date uponits original 1996 release, and reinvented the artist as a commandinginfluence on like-minded groups such as Radiohead who were tiringof the guitar / bass / drums format.Moving even further away from his ambient and acid house beginnings,the album matches James’s trademark fragile, slow-movingmelodies with harsh, quick breakbeats. When it was released, fellowelectronic artists such as Orbital and Underworld had just begunto filter moderate amounts of drum ’n’ bass in their work, but the RichardD. James Album was more extreme than virtually all jungle at thetime.Autobiographical in nature, it employs electronic sounds, pulsatingrhythms and non-musical samples to convey the author’s feelings onchildhood innocence, evidenced in tracks like “To Cure a WeaklingChild,” “Boy/Girl Song” and “Cornish Acid” (a nod to his Cornishbackground and upbringing). Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatissaid of the album: “James has turned inward for inspiration, paintingaural pictures of real and imagined scenes from his West Countrychildhood.” Stylistically, the Richard D. James Album is in themode of “elektronische music” and relies only on sounds generatedelectronically, while continuing James’s implementation of “musiqueconcrète” ideas by manipulating human voices, physical instrumentsand environmental sounds via sampling, distortion and looping.The album continues to gain high marks from music critics, ranking40th on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the 1990s and 55th on NME’sTop 100 Albums of All Time. A peculiar and personal work, theRichard D. James Album is a modern classic which offers the samethrill on the first listen as the hundredth.