AFX - "Analogue Bubblebath"
By Marcus Pan
Richard D. James is one of the more well
known tranch/techno producers as well as one of the most consistent. Operating
under the name Aphex Twin or, in this case, AFX, Richard James creates the type
of bubbly, iridescent dance/trance that is designed with one purpose in mind -
getting lost in. Richard has also turned his hand to ambient and, in even rarer
circumstances, music with lyrics within it as he experiments across various
genres and has recorded under various other names as well: Polygon Window, The
Diceman, etc. But his most well-known and appreciated work has always been his
trance/dance style, typical of what is found on the CD I'm going to discuss
today, Analogue Bubblebath.
Admittedly, TVT's release of AFX's Analogue
Bubblebath is dated - 1992. But considering I am somewhat new to the
trance-like genre as is shown by my recent reviews of Autechre's Amber
and others of that older fashion, I felt it was ok to write up Analogue
Bubblebath. This is a good name for this four-track CD in most instances of
sound on it as well - there is a very bubbly and floaty feel to much of the
music herein. Being it's an EP with four tracks we can take a look at each
track one by one without risking space. Much of his work, from looking at his
discography, is stays to a similar 4-6 track length with the full lengths being
fewer than the shorter.
Exquisitely moody and
with a perfect moniker, Analogue Bubblebath is considered a classic
among die-hard trance fans. Richard's choices of floating beats and perfectly
selected and placed computeresque blips along with a highly comfortable and
reverberating synth-chord line is wonderfully transient for the wanna-be raver.
The flute-like slides behind the simple chord work adds a new dimension to the
track giving it an effervescent feel.
This wasn't a good choice of
tracks to follow the iridescent Analogue Bubblebath because I feel the
opening and continuing metal-edged beat of Isopropophlex cuts rather
than slides. After the first track you're comfortable, floating, and then
suddenly you're being hit in the head. It's not quite a hammer that's hitting
you - more like a Nerf football - but nonetheless it is an extreme change of
moods that turns around the CD quite suddenly.
Entrance To Exit
A rhythmic, tribal-like
drum & bass track, Entrance To Exit has a very complicated beat
track combined with occasional symphonic chord hits. Richard applies sliding
guitar tweaks near the end to give an other-worldly feel. It's a very fast
moving track, sure to move most harder edged electro enthusiasts.
Again the mood changes from a
trancier one to a more stompier one, but at least the beats aren't as riveting
and damaging to the core of the mood as Isopropophlex was. AFX2
is a minimal, beat-driven song that leaves much to be desired and doesn't
explore the chord sways it begins with as much as it could have. They are
always subdued and very background - or maybe that's because later in the track
a squeaking is applied in time to the beats, like a mouse trapped in a bongo.
Richard James has many more offerings I will most likely
explore. The sensations that riveted me in Analogue Bubblebath, clearly
the leader on this EP, is enough to make me do so even if the other three
tracks left something to be desired. The sounds of AFX are a definitely
acquired taste as I've learned - but if electronica is your thing, look into
Post: TVT Records,
23 E. 4th St. New York City, NY, 10003
Phone: (212) 979-6410
Click to Buy!