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Richard D. James Album


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Audio CD, January 28, 1997
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Audio, Cassette, January 28, 1997
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Richard D. James Album + Syro + Selected Ambient Works Volume 2
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An album that may not quite be about himself, but takes careful note of who he just might be. There is childhood and memory and personal geography simmering under the beats and bleats of this LP. The fact that James used more discretion than ever in assembling the tracks might confirm there is indeed a method to his madness on this one. Some hidden revelations, perhaps, hidden in those grooves? Surf on the serene summery toy train ride of "Fore Street," or search the paedo n' bass recorder group sounds of the mesmerizing "To Cure A Weakling Child." The shining moment, though, just may lie in the chamber orchestra n' bass extravaganza "Girl/Boy Son." Could this album be the autobiographical Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Insect /Citizen James we've all been waiting for? "It's more of a progression," is what he says about the album. "I'm getting more skillful with the machines."

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If techno ever does become the sound of young America, don't expect Richard James to be its poster boy, deserving though he may be. A native of Cornwall, England, James is obsessed with the mechanics of music making: As a kid, he took apart and reassembled the living room piano. Under the names Aphex Twin, Polygon Window, AFX, and other aliases too numerous to mention, he showed that he could make entire tracks with the sounds produced by tapping on a Coke can. Like the indie rockers of yore, he revels in his marginality because of the creative freedom it gives him. His full-length U.S. debut, Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1994), includes some of the most serene sounds this side of the Orb, but his favorite hobby is the not-at-all-blissful pastime of driving a Daimler Ferret Mark 3 tank through his parents' backyard.

None of his recordings have captured the competing impulses to lull you to sleep and blast out your eardrums as well as Richard D. James, his third and best album. As the title indicates, James has turned inward for inspiration, painting aural pictures of real and imagined scenes from his west country childhood. "Goongumpas" is a fanciful, playful tune that wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. As his adventures with the family upright indicate, James was a bit of a devil even as a child. "Beetles" is the sound of a boy frying bugs on the sidewalk with a magnifying glass, and "To Cure a Weakling Child" shows flashes of the sort of sadism found only on preschool playgrounds. If you still doubt that young Richard developed early on, the romantic Nino Rota-style strings on "Girl/Boy Song" are just made for passionate seductions, and the tune appears in three mixes, each one hot and hornier than the one before.

The raucous undercurrents of even his calmest tunes and the sources of many of his most common sounds are what link James to the rock tradition. With Richard D. James, the artist solidifies his position as an electronic music mastermind who has earned a spot beside such well-respected innovators--whether or not he's destined for stardom. --Jim Derogatis


1. 4
2. Cornish Acid
3. Peek 824545201
4. Fingerbib
5. Corn Mouth
6. To Cure A Weakling Child
7. Goon Gumpos
8. Yellow Cal X
9. Girl/Boy Song
10. Log N Rock Witch
11. Milkman
12. Inkey $
13. Girl/Boy (18 Pound Snore Rush Mix)
14. Beetles
15. Girl/Boy (Redruth Mix)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 28, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: January 28, 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sire / Warp Records
  • ASIN: B000002HOF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,499 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Aphex Twin, aka Richard D. James, has me hooked, to say the least.
Sam McCarthy
He also taps into more modern concepts of electronic music utilizing data from video games to create sounds for some of the songs in the album.
Thomas V. Inglesby
This is a very unusual album which you should expect from Richard D. James, it is really good though, if you like his music buy it.
Nick Martinez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Maxx on May 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Richard D. James Album is the first ten tracks of this album:
1. 4
2. Cornish Acid
3. Peek 824545301
4. Fingerbib
5. Corn Mouth
6. To Cure a Weakling Child
7. Goon Gumpas
8. Yellow Calx
9. Girl/Boy Song
10. Logon Rock Witch
When bringing the album to America, the record companies decided that 32 minutes was too short for an album and added on the (entertaining, but IMO inferior) 5 tracks from the Girl/Boy EP.
11. Milkman
12. Inkeys
13. Girl/Boy Song [£18 Snare Rush Mix]
14. Beetles
15. Girl/Boy Song [Redruth Mix]
Those five tracks are BONUS TRACKS - they are NOT part of Richard D. James Album. Please consider this when reviewing the album.
As for my opinion, RDJ Album is a masterpiece of Drill n Bass, which is the term for the lightning quick, spastic drumming that is so prominent in this work. Note that this rather up-tempo drumming isn't always intense...it can actually be quite soothing (For the best example of this, see Flim from the Come to Daddy EP). For this, I couldn't do anything but give it 5 Stars. Once again, Aphex Twin has released something completely alien to my ears and I love it.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By darrahs@ucsub.colorado.edu on July 23, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be spinning inside the head of an insane genius at the peak of his insanity and creativity? Well, probably not, but if you find yourself wondering what the soundtrack to such an event would sound like, then you should check this album out. The tracks move along at such dizzying paces that you don't have time to catch your breath throughout the 45 minutes that he has a hold of your throat. Each song has its own, unique cheesy melody to accompany often non-rhythmic beats that would be utterly impossible to dance to. That's why this album is the anthem of the sanity-free: the music grabs ahold of you, and you want to do something like dance to it, but you can't. You have to sit there while he's rummaging through your brain breaking everything he can find, rendering you helpless to breathe, think or move for 3/4 of an hour. The only downfall of this album is that it's not longer.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Etc on October 12, 2005
Format: Audio CD
If you consider yourself a fan of electronic music at all, you probably already own this... and if you don't you should slap yourself and immediately run out and buy it. This is one of the albums that defined and expanded the potential of IDM music. Many people consider this to be Aphex Twin's greatest work, and I wouldn't disagree.

The drums don't just drum, they explode and morph in ways that sound so natural (and almost acoustic) that it's somewhat baffling. The frantic beats somehow manage to stay soothing throughout, which is quite a feat when you consider how intense and impressive they are. The melodies are clear, beautiful, and almost catchy... with something signature and nostalgically familiar about them that you'd swear you'd heard them before.

Though there's a good chance that you have. 4 and To Cure a Weakling Child have already been established as classic pieces of electronic music wizardry.

Few electronic musicians have come anywhere near to expressing the kind of complex personality that runs through The Richard D. James Album . To call this album a benchmark would be an understatement, but it would be hard to find the words to explain just how revolutionary and perfect this album is.

Absolutely required.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Coish on July 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I'm an avid music fan, always looking and exploring new types of music (or trying to anyways), and so, it was only a matter of time before I delved into the Aphex Twin collection. I'm pretty interested in electronic music, and I've heard a lot of great things about Aphex Twin, and so I decided to pick this album up (the only one by Aphex Twin in the store) even though it was (price). Anyways, I put the album on and immediately I liked most of it in some way, and so that was a good thing. I was immediately blown away by Girl/Boy Song, and so I said to myself "Good, it wasn't a waste of money."
That was two nights ago, and I have been listening to this album almost non-stop since then. I'm listening to it now. I don't just think this album is good now, I think is amazing. Every song (with maybe the exception of tracks 10 and 11) is awesome, with the standouts being Girl/Boy Song, 4, Corn Mouth, TO Cure a Weakling Child, Goongumpas, and Yellow Calx. But they're really all good. I find this album as a paradox of sorts. It's very abrasive, but yet it also is very dreamy even with the abrasivness. I find I can listen to it, and focus on it, or just play it in the background and be equally satisfied with it. It's very interesting if you want it to be, but also very ambient if you want that. It's very cool to listen to the hard and fast beats, and to catch a glimpse of the ambient song underneath, and that is a great effect. Girl/Boy Song which is my favorite song on the album is absolutely amazing. It's a classical ambient song, but with loud and fast, random beats throughout. My favorite part of the song is around the 3 minute mark where the drums stop, and it becomes straight ambience with the strings for a portion of the song.
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