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AFX, "Hangable Auto Bulb"

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The Hangable Auto Bulb EPs have been a bit of a holy grail for Aphex Twin fans and now I understand why. It covers in eight tracks most of the ground that he covers in the ten years or so since the EPs’ original release.


Everything on Hangable Auto Bulb is definitively Richard James, from oddball samples about mashed potato on “Children Talking” to the neck snapping breakbeats. I felt like I was listening to his entire back catalogue condensed into just over half an hour. What is even better is the fact that most of the material is danceable. Not in a jerky, beard-stroking IDM way but actual fun appreciation of music with your body.

“Laughable Butane Bob” is very nearly a cheesy dance anthem but it’s pulled back from musical oblivion by James’s idiosyncratic blending of wobbly synth lines with some of the finest beats made by a machine. Another remarkable thing about Hangable Auto Bulb is that it doesn’t sound dated or tainted by countless emulators of James’s style. I found it as fresh today as it sounded a decade ago.

The humor is still funny and the music still sounds modern. Aphex Twin may have strayed off the road a few times over the last ten years but on Hangable Auto Bulb he was heading full tilt down a highway that looked like it was going somewhere special indeed.


Last Updated on Saturday, 26 November 2005 03:35  


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