Not many artists can claim to have changed an entire genre with a single album. Richard D. James is one of those who can.
After dabbling for years in minimalist, glitch-driven compositions, releasing material under a host of pseudonyms (Blue Calx, AFX, Power-Pill, Polygon Window being but a few), James turned the electronica world on its head with the 1992 release of Selected Ambient Works 85-92. If the title is to be believed, this collection stretched back to songs written when James was as young as 14. The mish-mash of atmospheric ambience, tape effects and glitches, bass lines, and drum beats combined the minimalist ambience of artists like Brian Eno and Philip Glass with the dance sensibilities of acid and house music, giving birth to what would later be called Intelligent Dance Music (IDM).
Other artists on the Warp label also contributed to the rise of IDM, but it was the effect of Selected Ambient Works 85-92 and Aphex Twin's subsequent releases that really challenged the electronica scene to become more experimental and innovative. Featuring extremely complex programmed drum beats, incorporation of found sounds, chaotic rhythms and frequent changes in time signature, most Aphex Twin songs are actually very difficult to dance to and are more at home in headphones than in the club.
Darktronica favorites are "Come To Daddy (Pappy Mix)," "Girl/Boy Song," "Vordhosbn," "To Cure A Weakling Child," and "Alberto Balsam."
Aphex Twin Discography
Last updated October 5, 2007.