"I'm just some irritating, lying, ginger kid from Cornwall who should have been locked up in some youth detention centre. I just managed to escape and blag it into music."
Richard D. James (b. 1971), better known as Aphex Twin, is an Irish-born electronic artist and founder of the Rephlex Records label. He currently resides in Cornwall, England and is highly known for his innovations in the genre, his experimental, Genre-Busting/Genre Roulette songs and his love of using Blatant Lies in interviews for fun. He started making music at the age of 11 by tinkering with one of his home computers and hasn't looked back ever since. His first successful album was Selected Ambient Works 85-92, which was released on February 12, 1992 and received overwhelming praise from critics after some years of false starts, setting James on the path to electronic music fame.While he is known in some ways as a Trope Maker for ambient techno thanks to the aforementioned SAW 85-92, his material is very diverse and frequently employs pseudonyms, ranging from sad, beautiful Lonely Piano Pieces (most of them on Drukqs), ear-bleeding dance music (...I Care Because You Do), acid techno (his early AFX/Caustic Window material, plus the Analord 12" series) and his trademark combination of upbeat melodies with complicated beats (Richard D. James Album, Drukqs).Oddly enough, out of two of his best-known mainstream hits (that'd be "Come to Daddy" and "Windowlicker"), one has experienced Creator Backlash and the other is a Black Sheep Hit.
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Under Aphex Twin
Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992)
Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1994)
...I Care Because You Do (1995)
Melodies From Mars (1995) (unreleased; however, Richard has suggested in a recent interview that he is remaking it and planning an official release)
Richard D. James Album (1996)
SYRO (2014, upcoming)
Xylem Tube (1992)
Donkey Rhubarb (1995)
Come to Daddy (1997)
Analord 10 (2005)
51/13: Aphex Singles Collection (1996)
26 Mixes for Cash (2003)
Chosen Lords (2006)
Analogue Bubblebath (1991)
Analogue Bubblebath 2 (1991)
Analogue Bubblebath 3 (1992)
Analogue Bubblebath 4 (1994)
Analogue Bubblebath 5 (1995)
Hangable Auto Bulb EP (1995)
Hangable Auto Bulb EP 2 (1995)
Analogue Bubblebath 3.1 (1997)
Smojphace EP (2003)
Analords 1-9, 11 (2005)
AFX / LFO|AFX / LFO split 12" (2005)
Hangable Auto Bulb (1995 and 2005 re-release)
Chosen Lords (2006)
2 Remixes by AFX (2001)
Under Caustic Window
Untitled (1994) (formerly unreleased, finally released in 2014)
Consider the lyrics to the song "Milkman", sung in a odd monotone-yet-cheerful jingle.
I wish the milkman would deliver my milk in the morning, I wish the milkman would deliver my milk when I'm yawning, I would like some milk from the milkman's wife's tits...
A more jarring version appears on "Funny Little Man." The song proper isn't all that bad, assuming you don't mind that a pitched-up, autotuned James sounds exactly like Rolf on acid, but what follows is a Plaintalk program threatening to sodomize, stalk, and castrate the listener before eating their genitals.
Blatant Lies: Richard's well known for deliberately misleading both the press and his fans with very bizarre lies. He has claimed, amongst other things, to sleep only around 3 hours a night, as well as the ownership of a large square building with no windows in the middle of a South London roundabout (it actually contains a power transformer).
Body Horror: It would be easier to list examples of his videos that don't invoke this trope.
Broken Record: "Come To Daddy". Its lyrics are "I want your soul/I will eat your soul", with a part where the song title is repeated over and over again... And don't forget that bloodcurling scream.
Fan Disservice: The music video of "Windowlicker" has the girls' faces transforming into that of Richard's Slasher Smile grin and a really hideous woman near the end.
Humanoid Abomination: How Richard D, James often likes to portray himself and others in his videos. In Windowlicker, for example he seems to have the ability to transform others into 'clones' of himself.
The titles of the tracks on Selected Ambient Works Volume II are not so much names as they are photographs.
Several of the titles on Hangable Auto Bulb and I Care Because You Do are anagrams of phrases pertinent to Aphex Twin.
Several tracks on Drukqs are in Welsh.
Analord 8, 9, and 11 all have tracks named after or akin to malware. This was apparently an attempt to discourage piracy.
I Have Many Names: Aphex Twin, AFX, Blue Calx, Bradley Strider, Caustic Window, DJ Smojphace, GAK, Martin Tressider, Polygon Window, Power-Pill, Pritchad G. Kraymes,note Which he wrote to New Musical Express under after they deemed "Windowlicker" Best Single of 1999 Prichard D. Jams, Q-Chastic, Tahnaiya Russell, The Dice Man, Soit P.P., The Tuss, and, by extension, both Brian and Karen Tregaskin
In Name Only: Several (but not all) of his "remixes" are actually original works.
Insistent Terminology: He is one of many IDM musicians who insist it be called Braindance, on the grounds that the term "Intelligent Dance Music" has elitist connotations.
Jerkass: There are a variety of stories, both confirmed and unconfirmed, about Richard being rude or spiteful to people.
When requested to remix a song for Madonna, he said that he would only agree if she were to portray herself as a pig on one of his songs.
When a representative for the band The Lemonheads came to his house one morning asking for the remix he was commissioned to do, he went to his studio, ripped a random song which was irrelevant to the song he was requested to do, and gave it to him for in exchange for thousands of dollars. Supposedly, this was due to Aphex completely forgetting about the remix he was commissioned to do, but apparently, he didn't demand money.
He looks and acts incredibly annoyed on several interviews.
Oddly enough, when there was a snafu regarding The Lonely Island sampling Avril 14th for "Iran (So Far Away)", Aphex Twin didn't mind and was "cool" about the whole thing. His label, however, wasn't.
On the other hand, he once criticized the desciption of his music as "Intelligent Dance Music", as it implied everyone else's music was stupid, before joking it was "really nasty" to everyone else's music.
"Come To Daddy": filmed in one of the locations for A Clockwork Orange, it depicts an old woman walking her dog. The dog pisses on a pile of garbage and on a TV which brings itself to life, with a creepy being chanting out the lyrics of the song. From the building, a group of troublemaking kids with Richard D. James's trademark face with Slasher Smile start to wreak havoc and unintentionally bring the TV being to the real world. The being, then, screams out loud to the old woman and then gathers the kids to itself. WARNING: this video has content which can potentially cause nightmares.
"Windowlicker": filmed in Los Angeles. The video starts with two men (a black guy and a Latin-American guy) who love to swear, who then meet two sexy prostitutes. The two men want to have sex with the two girls, but the latter reject them because of their bad behavior. An heated discussion starts, which is then interrupted by the arrival of Richard D. James, depicted as a ridiculously rich pimp, who manages to score both of the women. The rest of the video will probably make you say "What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?".
Overly Long Gag: The Windowlicker video has two: the conversation between the two rappers, and eventually the two girls...which goes on for nearly FOUR MINUTES; and Richard's limo.
Precision F-Strike: Apart from an answering machine message, drukQs is an entirely instrumental album. The one lyric, "COME ON YOU CUNT LET'S HAVE SOME APHEX ACID", is screamed in the middle of "Cock/ver10" and was a phrase used in promotion for the album.
Ridiculous Procrastinator: Despite having a reputation for having thousands of hours of music recorded, there are a couple stories about how he almost missed deadlines. One story claims that a remix for a major record label was almost overdue and said label sent an agent to retrieve the tape directly from James, he dubbed off a copy of the first song off a random cassette and handed it to the agent.
Sampling: James' usage of samples is legendary within its own right. Very notable examples include:
"4", which includes Richard and his father; both appear in dialogue throughout the Richard d. James album,
"Nannou", which is composed entirely of wind-up music box samples.
Self-Deprecation: He once described himself in an interview as "some irritating, lying, ginger kid from Cornwall who should have been locked up in some youth detention centre".
Sensory Abuse: He's made several songs that are made to be as harsh as possible - Ventolin, for example, is deliberately patterned after the side-effect Ventolin gives to some users (namely, harsh-sounding ringing in the ear).
You Make Me Sic: The back of the Richard D. James Album has a tracklist written in Richard's own handwriting. Said handwriting is oddly piss-poor (unlike the more comprehensible one on ...I Care Because You Do) and crams words together, rendering some parts difficult to read. It's caused some annoyingly persistent misspellings of song titles, especially "Logan Rock Witch" (frequently mistaken for "Logon Rock Witch") and "Carn Marth" (frequently mistaken for "Corn Mouth")
Similarly, "Redurth School" is sometimes misspelled as "Redruth School".