Listen Along: “Richard D. James Album”

richarddjames

1) “4”



Michael Frett: Check out them cellos in the background.

Tucker Phillips: My name’s Aphex Twin and I like my drums to chirp and twitter.

Sean Reichard: DAMN THIS IS WHAT I EXPECTED IT TO BE.

TP: SEAN IS ON THE MARK SO HARD RIGHT NOW.

Matt Bertram: I PLAY CELLO.

TP: Matt. Are you Aphex Twin.

MF: Do you bloop, though? Or maybe even bleep?

SR: Are your drums a leaf on the wind? Can you watch how they soar?

TP: Can you break a song down and then have some studio chatter and THEN bring the track back in like it ain’t no thing?

MF: Does your cello summon the glowing beauty of a full string section?

MB: I am George Lopez.

TP: That makes slightly more sense.

MF: This changes everything. Man, I really like these strings.

TP: PSYCH! They’re not real! Aphex Twin got you again! That prankster.

SR: So this is what I haven’t been listening to all these years.

MF: I feel like that may be the least Aphex Twinny thing on the record, but I really like these fake strings. Next thing you know, he’ll be photoshopping his grin onto bikini clad models. You card, Aphex Twin. You rascal.

TP: This song has more breakdowns than my Ford Fusion. Oh gosh, fade-out. Don’t tell Kyle.


2) “Cornish Acid”



TP: This song is multitudes more wobbly than the last.

SR: Wibble wobble.

MF: Aphex Twin swaggers into a club.

TP:  Where “4” was but a landlubber, this song is fully aboard the vessel. I love the drums, they’re like full stops that URGE you to go on. Like a period AND an ellipses.

SR: APHEX TWIN: AURAL GRAMMARIAN.

TP: Goral Orangutang.

MF: I’m trying to think of a way to phonetically bleep these bloops. Bleepbleep-blooooooooop. And scene.

TP:  And then the computer crashes.

MF: It just bluescreened on us.

SR: DAT DIAL TONE. Guys, why didn’t you force me to listen to Aphex Twin sooner?

TP: IT IS A PILGRIMAGE YOU MUST EMBARK UPON YOURSELF.

MF: The best way to sell Sean on an album: dial tones.


3) “Peek 824545201”



TP: Hello? Oh, it’s for you.

SR: It was like Morse code. Telegraph clacking. Dat dissonance.

MF: My copy’s missing this track…

TP: Imagine yourself in an Aphex Twin track. I will describe it to you. There is somebody trying to hack into your phone line on speaker A.

MF: My mind’s adrift in a sea of codes and photoshop grins.

TP: On speaker B, there’s something that’s not a drum but is trying very hard to be one.

SR: Man, how intermedial are we getting in this thread?

TP: Imagine this conversation as a drum loop. But with burbles and plonks instead of the usual skin-flinnery. Also I think we lost Matt in the aether.

MF: Wait.

MB: Nah I’m trippin’ n’ groovin’.

TP: HARK.

MF: MATT LIVES.

SR: GROOVIN’ IN THE AETHER.

TP: APHEX TWIN HAS BROUGHT HIM BACK. PRAISE BE. PRAISE BE.

MF: HARK, WHAT SHALL WE DO NEXT, OH MIGHTY RICHARD D. JAMES?

SR: Sloooooooow dooooooooown. Like an old car.

TP: Let’s bib a finger.


4) “Fingerbib”



TP: Do you guys like melodies?

SR: DO I??

TP: I mean, I know you like drum machine bloopery. But what if there were, like, pitches? In a sequence?

MF: I love me some melodies with my loopin’ bloopin’. And it’s building.

TP: APHEX TWIN DEMANDS YOU NOD YOUR HEAD.

SR: YES. GOOOOUD.

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MF: …into what might be the favorite of the little Aphex Twin I know.

TP: Man could (and still can) bust out the darndest melodies.

MF: High fake strings, I missed you.

SR: Imagine Star Wars if it had been scored by Aphex Twin.

TP: Well, there’d be fewer movies lately. I can tell you that.

MF: WITNESS THE POWER OF THIS FULLY OPERATIONAL BATTLE STATION.

TP: THIS WHOLE SONG IS A BRIDGE.

SR: TO TERABITHIA?

TP: NO. FROM TERABITHIA.

MF: YO, DO YOU LIKE CHILDREN’S BOOKS ABOUT MAGICAL LANDS?

SR: WHY DON’T YOU GIVE THIS APHEX TWIN A LISTEN.

MF: HERE’S A STORY ABOUT YOUR FRIEND DYING.

TP: Sold!

SR: To the man in the pink corner!


5) “Carn Marth”



MB: Ok, whatever that weird sound in this song is is EXACTLY TEH SAME AS MILES DAVIS’ WAH WAH TRUMPET!

TP: Drum’s not dead. I can hear it! MILES DAVIS’ SPIRIT LIVES ON IN PASTY WHITE BRITISH DUDES WITH PONYTAILS.

SR: 8-bit?

MF: That drum’s having a seizure.

TP: Oh my god I love that acidic whatever sound going on in the middle. Sounds like he’s grinding the song down and the melody’s flying off like a bunch of sparks.

MF: Man, if a song could physically drip something.

SR:

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TP: THE FIRE LIGHTS HIS GRINNING FACE WITH A DEVILISH GLOW.

MF: THE CAMERA PANS OUT. EVERYONE’S APHEX TWIN!

TP: Except, notably, John Malkovich.

SR: These drums are jackhammers.

TP: Phone’s off the hook again.

MF: I think my favorite part is all the parts that aren’t the drums. Because them bleepy bloops are blooptiful.

SR: Not to be confused with the jackalope though!

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6) “To Cure a Weakling Child”



SR: VOICES.

TP: CHILDREN. My arms and my ears: all you need to enjoy an Aphex Twin album.

MF: I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing with my arms.

SR: IT SOUNDS LIKE THE DRUMS ARE A RUSTLING CARPET.

TP: This is what kindergarten would have sounded like if my kindergarten were a hyperactive electronic music album.

MF: Man, those keyboards in the background are doing wonders.

SR: Like a nursery rhyme run through a carbonator.

MF: “Yo, do you like ‘Penny Lane’? Well have I got subtle fake horn hits for you!”

TP: James’ take on childhood is my favorite in music, I think.

SR: ‘Tis a strange beast, this music. Like the wolpertinger!

TP: A wolpertinger in everything but name! What’s a wolpertinger?

MF: KIDS STOP BREAKING THE CLASSROOM.

SR:

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THAT.

TP: Oh gosh.

SR: IS. A. WOLPERTINGER.

TP: Oh gosh. Oh gosh.

SR:

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TP: To cure a wolpertinger child.

MF: I have no words for all of these…um…

SR: LOOKS PRETTIER IN THE PAINTINGS THOUGH

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TP: Like Aphex Twin’s music, the wolpertinger is a rabbit with antlers.

SR: APHEX TWIN: A WOLPERTINGER FOR OUR TIMES.

MF: APHEX TWIN IS A MAD TAXIDERMIST APPARENTLY.


7) “Goon Gumpas”



MF: Haven’t heard from Matt in a while. That goon. /gumpa. What’s a gumpa?

SR: So…lullabyish. And childlike.

TP: I feel like XTC and Aphex Twin could have made a hell of an album together. Goon Gumpas is a place, I think.

MF: I feel like this is a lost Zelda soundtrack piece. TAKE ME TO HYRULE, APHEX TWIN.

SR: HEY GOD OF MUSIC.

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Sorry not sorry.

MF: This is going to be one incredibly visual LA, isn’t it?

SR: GOOD

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MF: I wonder if Palpatine would be an Aphex Twin fan.

SR: Boardwalk of dreams.


8) “Yellow Calx”



TP: The first half of this album is so angry.

MF: Wait, what? I didn’t get “angry” at all.

TP: Um…

SR: How would you explain the dichotomy?

TP: It’s more…visceral. Remember the wobbles of yore? I figure he just made some great tea at some point in the middle there.

MF: If anything it all sounds super playful.

SR: TWO SIDES, TWO FACES.

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MF: Oh. Oh man. I’m sure there’s a tea pun to be made out of “Goon Gumpas.” I’m not man enough to look for it.

TP: Oh wait the wobbles are back.

MF: All Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde. I hope Aphex Twin’s darkside also invests in classy hats.

SR: GETTIN’ LITERARY UP IN HERE. Also, wobble wobble. Wobble wobble. Computer noises.

TP: Lots of what could and may possibly be but are probably not phone noises on this baby.

SR: Neal Stephenson, you have your pizza music.

TP: You know what? I bet Neal Stephenson is an Aphex Twin fan.

SR: I STILL NEED TO READ “SNOW CRASH” AHHH. AND “INHERENT VICE.”

TP: THEY’RE BASICALLY THE SAME BOOK.

SR: Really?

TP: Nope.


9) “Girl/Boy Song”



SR: Oh how whimsical. It’s like listening to a cuter version of “Golden Hours” by Brian Eno. AND HERE COME THE DRUMS.

TP: I don’t have much to say about this bad boy. I just like every part of it and think it’s awesome.

MF: This is what I imagine Gomez likes to drum to when he’s not wearing hats.

TP: Pastoralcore?

SR: You think Paul Banwatt could drum these drums?

TP: Maybe a Banwatt and a half.

SR: To the cloning lab!

TP: THE WORLD COULD BARELY CONTAIN ONE BANWATT.

MF: APHEX TWIN / RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE COLLAB WHEN?

SR: WAIT NO SOMETHING WENT WRONG. IT’S GONE ALL “THE FLY” IN HERE.

TP: DON’T PLAY GOD, SEAN. NEVER PLAY GOD.

SR: THE BANWATTS GOT SPLICED!

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THERE WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE MORE THAN ONE.

MF: BUT WAIT. THIS ISN’T THE ACHTUNG BABY LA.

TP: Somewhere, Aphex Twin grudgingly shoulders his rifle.

SR: Also these cellos are stately.

TP: This bridge here with the plucks is maybe my favorite aphex twin moment.

SR: DAT CELESTE(?) AHH

TP: And the drums are like “make way, breh”.

MF: All the synthetic orchestrations are my favorite things ever.

SR: I WAS CAUGHT UNAWARES BY THAT DRUM TORNADO.


10) “Logan Rock Witch”



SR: BOING BOING.

TP: AUSTRAPHEX TWIN.

SR: Organ. Organ. Organ.

MF: BOUNCING ONTO SCENE. So apparently this kangaroo is visiting Transylvania?

TP: The melody that pops up right about…now. I love it.

SR: This is like textbook gradiation breh, and I love it. Goddamnit Tucker why didn’t you insist on Aphex Twin earlier?

TP: Slide whistles for you! And slide whistles for you! You get a slide whistle!

MF: ORGAN SOLO.

TP: The organist is drunk. Go home, organist.

SR: WHEEEE

TP: Slide whistler is on point though, as always.

SR: Is…is something… going to happen?

MF: Whoever’s playing the springs knows what’s up.

TP: THE LOGAN ROCK WITH WILL RISE AGAIN.

SR: What’s that knocking? What’s he building in there?

TP: TOM WAITS, SAVE US! But it was too late. We all went to heaven in a little rowboat.

SR:

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TP: You tried valiantly, Mr. Waits. But Tom Waits for no man.

MF: I guess that answers the age old question of who would win in a fight: a kangaroo or an organ player. WAIT NO, ROUND 2!

SR: And fin.