Monday, May 11, 2009

26 mixes for cash

a little background on this album

if you are not familiar with Richard D James, or Aphex Twin 

i purchased this double cd back in 2003, prior to my graduation from high school.  i had been a fan of aphex twin for a while, owning a handful of his earlier cds.  i loved the glitched out sounds of the richard d james album.  one could argue that at the time i was attracted by the sounds that were upfront, lacking a kind of subtlety.  whatever it was i loved it.  i had never heard anything like that, music with drum lines smeared into fast moving rolls coming in and out of the capability of being produced by a human.  i had been performing as a cellist in orchestras for about 6 years at that time and aphex twin was so alien to what i had been around.  

and the other half of his work also spoke to me.  while being capable of writing abrasive and almost harmful music; he was also able to write melodies on the piano with a softness likening him to Satie.  

for your consideration

clearly this man is/was a genius.  

so back to my original story.  i bought this album with high hopes.  needless to say i listened to it and was stricken with horror that there were perhaps only 2 songs over the two cds that were riddled with machine gun drum loops.  the wilting beauty was around, but always half submerged and not clear enough for my brain to really latch on to. so as many cds i have purchased over the years, it went in a stack in my room to a shelf to a cd case to a box to the basement.  

today, while visiting with my parents for mothers day and a microvacation, i was at a loss for something to listen to, having only my laptop and ipod, which do not mesh well with my parents' new sound system.  down to the basement i went, finding the boxes and boxes of old cds i am storing there.  much to my suprise i found 26 mixes for cash and decided to give it another try.  i have tried many times to give this album another chance, each time i wasn never able to really give it a good listen.  

clearly today is the day.  its always a wonder for me when i rediscover cds i purchased years ago and find them satisfying so long after i had forgotten about them.  have i grown in my musical tastes?  have i opened my mind beyond what i liked and didn't like as a high schooler?  well i should hope so.  but i also wonder if the reason i can enjoy this cd now is perhaps the time has come around again for aphex twin.

these songs are weird, to put it bluntly.  but with the current state of things, everything either is either garbage can or will be there soon due to our negligence.  at the same time we're filled with hope at our new administration here in the states.   people are terrified but also stricken with a strange kind of hopefullness that keeps the trains chugging along.   this album is good to listen to because its weird and resonating with my personal experiences, private and public.  a little weirdness, a little beauty, a little hard edge.

and citing the wikipedia article, this album is a big joke too.  richard d james was paid for the remixes, yet they barely resemble the original.  basically he was paid to write new songs, under the guise of remixing.  i love it when people are taken advantage of because they don't know what they're getting into.  requesting probably the greatest electronic mind of our days to remix some obscure bands track is like asking Einstein to help you with your physics homework.

but all in all i have found a new friend this sunny afternoon.  a new old friend really.  expect a new mix coming soon where some of these strange tunes are sure to pop up.