Strange 3D logos appear inside the South London underground train stations Elephant & Castle. In Turin, Italy, the same strange symbol appears on a main street. It shows up again in front of some bush in Hollywood, California, and then pops up again in Tokyo. Only someone with the legend and grandeur of Aphex Twin could promote an album release this way.
If you don’t know who Aphex Twin is, holy fuck. You have a lot of catching up to do. If you’ve tried out his shit but didn’t quite get into it? I’m sure the fandom surrounding Aphex Twin, aka Richard D James (RDJ), looks even weirder to you than the music he makes. Those who love RDJ love him a lot. Fans follow him like a disciple following a candy coated Christ. As a diehard fan myself, I can verify that the amount of devotion I have for this motherfucker is totally fucking creepy. I knew the day this album came out I would be listening to this shit on repeat. It wasn’t a choice. It’s a mission. Others? Can’t fucking stand this guy’s music.
What the fuck? How can one musician cause such drastic and dramatic reactions? In my situation, I wasn’t all that into electronic music before I got into RDJ. I saw the genre as unintelligent repetitive garbage. I would cross my arms and scoff at the dirty, sweaty, and drugged out Neanderthals walking into clubs and hopping across dancefloors with the clear goal of having intercourse with some other fuckhead, thus continuing the spread of their moronic genes, at these things called “raves”. When I first heard RDJ, I thought his shit was pretentious. I thought he was trying to sound complex to appear smart. I listened to the album on repeat anyway because of the sheer strangeness of it. The more I listened, the more I understood. These sounds weren’t just random. They were exact. Each musical bar was painstakingly created. Eventually, my ear began to enjoy the album’s dissonance and stepped away from “perfect” harmonies in music. I re-listened to music I used to love and found a lot of it boring, repetitive, and pandering. What the fuck?
Have you ever wondered how much your culture impacts your music taste? Why do so many of us like this Do-Ray-Me-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do shit? Before I listened to RDJ, my musical tastes all fit into this box. Anything dissonance sounded “bad” to my ear. But, did you know that it’s possible to re-hardwire your brain so you enjoy the sound of dissonance? All you have to do is to listen to music with dissonance in it like a motherfucker. Re-hardwiring your brain to enjoy dissonance doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly hate harmony. You’ll be able to enjoy a greater variety of music: both harmonious and dissonant.
RDJ has dissonance in his shit. That’s why it can sound “bad” to some people. After I fell in love with his tunes, I was able to enjoy and explore other kinds of music. The world of Modern and Contemporary Classical suddenly sounded beautiful, tradition vocal music from Latvia, Vietnam, China, and Bulgaria started to sound interesting, I rocked the fuck out to Balinese Gamelan. I understand if someone doesn’t like RDJ when they first hear it. I kind of fucking expect it. Tastes develop when you try new fucking things. It’s how shit works. Beer used to taste like shit as a child, now there’s nothing better on a sunny day. So, you can go ahead and hate this amazing new album from one of the greatest musical minds of all time, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen.