07 10

Aphex Twin Cheetah Warp


As seen in recent releases Syro, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2, and the AFX-affiliated Orphaned Deejay Selek (2006-2008), Richard D. James is finally cataloging his database of unreleased work after years of procrastination. On top of the enormous Soundcloud dump of older demos, these sudden releases suggest that James is experiencing a reform in work ethic and public awareness.

It was fresh Aphex that sounded new. Now, Cheetah offers us yet another deviation of form from previous records. It’s notably decelerated in pace; meditating around the practically sluggish realm of 100 BPM. It’s down pitched techno in a state of dulcet R.E.M. It’s groove friendly with an abrasive air of unfamiliarity, deconstructing the fundamentals of acid and muffling them. The sound here is typically unpredictable, yet it seems atypically accessible for Aphex Twin.

The EP’s title alludes to a discontinued synth from the early 90s. The MS800 instalment of the Cheetah has been dubbed one of the most difficult, most bizarre, and most technically combative to ever appear on the market. And while James’s Cheetah is more of a tamed and endearing beast than the machinery it references, there’s something distinctly lo-fi and challenging about its direction. CHEETAHT2 (Ld spectrum) and CHEETAH7b in particular pay a conscious homage to the MS800’s awkwardly boisterous character, while CIRKLON3 (Konxo3har mix) and CIRKLON 1 reference features of hardware sequencer, Sequentix Cirklon. While the esoteric nods to terminated technology are highbrow, Cheetah remains relatively straightforward and unimposing.

What’s clear is that Richard D. James is currently stock taking his compendium of sonic clippings, snippets and drafts; revisiting the catacombs of his past and polishing up unkempt recordings. As was the case for Cheetah‘s CIRKLON3 (Konxo3har mix) and CHEETAH7b, James’s recent Soundcloud dumps contain original unmixed versions of tracks that are intended to be revisited and not to be denounced as throwaway doodles. Along with Cheetah, these impulsive bouts of nostalgia are providing us with an almanac of electronic works to reassess and revisit all over again.