Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt. 2 (ep)
You wait a decade for new Aphex Twin music – then you get a previously hard to find album recorded under another name, the now Grammy-winning official new album/return, as well as a stack of apparently unreleased Aphex leftovers under the typically cryptic user487363530 and now this EP, follow-up (but presumably separate from) Syro. It’s all exciting, interesting, mostly worthwhile, and it also furthers my theory that every single bit of Aphex Twin music was made in one amphetamine and coffee-drenched weekend by some strange genius who answers, mostly, to the name Richard.
Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt.2 is a 27-minute instrumental EP – there’s no likelihood pt.1 ever existed, or it could be released next week…fun!
Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments is a series of rhythmic snatches, for the most part. A reminder that there’s often an innate funkiness to Aphex’s work – something that seems to go largely unmentioned/forgotten. This ties him – again – to the hip-hop genre as much as any dance/electronica. You could almost believe that Madlib was involved here. And the opener, one of just a handful of full-length songs, this one going by the trademark catchy title of diskhat ALL prepared1mixed 13 even takes on something of the John Carpenter soundtrack world.
Elsewhere you’ll hear the familiar prepared piano, some of it hinting at those quiet passages that punctuated on Drukqs – possibly from those same sessions you wonder. And then with disk prep calrec2 barn dance [slo] Mr James has made a hooky groove-piece that feels like those sought after finds on obscure funk/jazz records such as the recently reissued David Lee Jr solo album.
It lacks any real head-fuck moment that a lot of Aphex fans crave – it is in fact almost his most accessible set, a 27-minute soundtrack for walking around town and feeling cool as shit, with a few stray percussive swipes and swishes to create the very slightest version of unease. It’s another part of the story. And – as with any of the parts of the Aphex story – you never ever know whether you’re right in the middle, near the end or back to the beginning. And that, ultimately, is his genius right there. And right here.