Sunday, October 17, 2010

Warp (1996)

This should be pretty instantly recognizable to anyone with even a passing interest in electronic music - side one Aphex Twin's Richard D. James Album. Not just a classic of the genre, but one of those albums that steps up and represents to a wider audience what people deep in the scene have been up to. I could go on about this record, but it's such a monster that it would take too long to begin to do it justice.

I love this label design too. Seems like Aphex Twin liked to push buttons not just with listeners, but also with Warp. Warp has an obviously design-y flavor to their packaging, crisp and elegant. Then the releases from Aphex, the best-known artist on their roster, have all this crunchy, messy, sloppy artwork - the labels for I Care Because You Do are hand-written and barely readable, and I love the hand-drawn Warp logo on that record. And on this label, he copies and pastes (CTRL-C! CTRL-V!) the most unappealing part of the cover image - the pores on his face. And hairs. Yech. The whole thing looks like it took about 5 minutes to do, and then he shipped it off to Warp and went on with his afternoon and did something he was more interested in.

Like so many other great artists, it's attitude that makes Aphex Twin stand head and shoulders above his peers: a combination of insane, self-obsessed, virtuosic technique, offset by moments of seemingly flippant impulsivity and disregard for his work. Does he really care? If he does, he cares because you do.

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