For a young producer, getting the Aphex Twin seal of approval is probably a bit like Pele recognising that you’re pretty decent at football having spied you taking part in an impromptu post-work kickabout in the park, or Grayson Perry liking your latest pottery attempt on Instagram.
Hearing AFX chucking your latest 12” into his all-out sensorial A/V assault is, we assume, a million Christmas days rolled into one. A good Christmas day, obviously. Not one of the ones where the lethal cocktail of pudding wine and an Eggheads celebrity special turns everything sour and Uncle Richard is quietly bundled into the back of a people carrier and not seen till a mid-summer barbecue.
Despite cultivating the impression that he lives a life removed nearly entirely from the quotidian constraints of reality itself – it is, let’s be honest, difficult to imagine Richard D. James on hold to his water supplier over an unusually pricey bill, or driving from Asda to Morrisons in search of a good deal on kumquats – it’s evident that when it comes to music, at least, he’s still got his ear to the ground, and his finger is firmly hovering on the DOWNLOAD PROMO AS ZIP pulse.
As recent sets at Berlin’s Funkhaus, and Turin’s Club to Club 2018 festival display, our November cover star has a knack for blending his own mind-bending constructions with similarly oddball selections from rising stars. In the name of providing a public service, here’s an octet of the newer artists that Aphex Twin has been repping on his occasional forays out of his Cornish bunker.
Ballad 002 has popped up in recent performances, and for good reason. This almost needlessly abrasive chunk of concrete-edged whateverthefuckitis (drill’n’techno? Prolapsed power electronics?) positively screams “LIKELY TO BE PLAYED BY APHEX TWIN AT SOME POINT” – in the best way possible. The result of a collaborative partnership between Aquarian and Deapmash, this is music to rearrange brains with.
Brighton-based producer Zak Brashill’s work sits somewhere between the haptic rush of footwork at its most sinuous and the woozy rush of peak-time pastoral breakbeat. Groove Control (another Funkhaus favourite) is a pleasure-focused blast of low-slung rave-rompery. If that’s a thing. Which it definitely should be, if it isn’t already.
We recently read that Italian artist Holy Similaun’s musical output welds “chaos electronics to de-constructed jungle and industrial power-outs,” and it might be one of the most accurate bits of musical reportage we’ve read in years. Arkangel, taken from his debut release on Natural Sciences, the ever-dependable oddball Manchester label, is the exact kind of record you want to hear Aphex Twin tearing through on a big night out in an ornate venue in east Berlin.
Like Aqxdm, Japanese multi-instrumentalist is signed to the UAE’s Bedouin imprint, the self-proclaimed “vinyl only imprint based in the desert’. That is, by and large, where the similarities end. Nitya, which seems to be a firm RDJ favourite, is all polyvocal hiccups and melted sub-bass. Club music for people stuck in the middle of a really, incredibly strong bout of flu.
One of Glasgow’s most exciting talents – which is saying a lot given that Glasgow’s one of the most exciting musical cities in the UK – peddles a wonky and warped take on the IDM template, all textural mulch and hyper-kinetic percussive clank. We can only imagine how celestial Touch Absence (Intimidating Stillness Mix) sounded bounding around the Berlin venue.
The French do three things really, really, really well: wine, cheese, and deconstructed club music. Parisian powerhouse Domenico Bercelli is one of the figures behind the boundary-pushing Paradoxe Club imprint, and his Errorsmith-influenced track Blossom got a well-deserved Aphex airing this month, again, at Funkhaus.
Richard D. James evidently has a bit of a thing for this up and coming Egyptian producer. A trio of the Cairo-based musician’s tracks made their way into the Funkhaus set. He’s Hearing Voices, What You Do, and Trigger Finger all featured during the show, and all of them are the kind of seriously heavy, seriously jagged tracks that you can imagine RDJ zoning out to after another day of casually knocking out another batch of genre-defying head-wreckers.