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Richard D. James Album

by Aphex Twin

Released November 4, 1996 via Warp Records

Reviewed November 10, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
4 (57%), Fingerbib (49%), Yellow Calx (30%)

Richard D. James Album brings the listeners of Aphex Twin down an even deeper rabbit hole. One where a slower-paced ambient base is replaced by rattling drum’n’bass and buzzing synthesizers. This was a first in the discography of electronic music’s biggest contemporary giant: A “bite-sized” album, one that doesn’t exceed 40 minutes, while all his previous work has spanned over an hour. Richard D. James Album works on a multitude of fronts, but its greatest is the balance of playful mischief and sinister doings. Every track that seems jagged is immediately off-centered by one that’s warm, and truly soothing to the ears. None of the songs feel out of place, despite the back and forth that this record puts the listener through. With the conclusion of Richard D. James Album, the listener is left dizzy, but eager as ever to return to yet another beautiful world created by Aphex Twin. – Ben (Synth) (9/10)

Prior to this, Aphex Twin was quickly becoming pigeonholed as solely an ambient electronic artist, so Richard D. James Album is retort. With a record full of mile-an-hour rhythms, disorienting melodies, and eclectic effects, he showed that he had a complete knowledge of electronic music on all levels; he was much more than he appeared to be initially to the masses. Everything on this record has an otherworldly atmosphere to it, where reality and the abstract bleed into one another. A maniacal record filled with plenty of serenity to accompany its brain-rattling nature. – Jared (9/10)

The fourth studio album from Aphex Twin, Richard D. James, paints obscure pictures and vivid worlds outside of our sphere of comprehension. Worlds where paranoid drum machines and salient synthesizers run the show. A two-party political system corrupted by vibrations. A world that moves to the sound of malevolence's slow hum. A sinister undercurrent runs through the album's runtime. It can sound as upbeat and blissful as it wants, but the feeling that something's not quite right never leaves. Physically firing on all cylinders, but mentally fading away like smoke rings from a gun. The balance of stability slowly comes undone as time takes its toll. The fabric of reality seething at its seams. Richard D. James teeters on the edge of losing control all the while presenting beautiful and surreal soundscapes for the listener’s pleasure. If you've ever wondered where to begin with Aphex Twin's enigmatic discography, this would be your best bet. – Peter (8.5/10)

Ben (Synth): 9/10 | Hadley: 9/10 | Jared: 9/10 | Cam: 8.5/10

Peter: 8.5/10 | Dominick: 8.3/10 | DeVán: 8/10


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