Aphex Twin Drukqs

[Warp/Sire Records; 2001]

Styles: IDM, electronica, techno, trance
Others: Squarepusher, Autechre, The Orb

Five years since his last album (and 2 since his 99's amazing “Windowlicker” single), electronic's main prankster returns with a 2-disc, 30-song behemoth in the shape of Drukqs.

Five years since his last album (and 2 since his 99's amazing “Windowlicker” single), electronic's main prankster returns with a 2-disc, 30-song behemoth in the shape of Drukqs.

So how does Drukqs stack up to his other releases? Well let's see... Selected Ambient Works, Vol. II changed the way we listen to music; I Care Because You Do changed what electronic music could do; and The Richard D. James Album changed the stylings of jungle and drum and bass. So, does Drukqs provide a new tangent to the curriculum? No, not really.

A bulk of the songs sound similar to previous Aphex outings. Songs such as “Meltphace 6” and “Vordhosbn” are reminiscent of “Come to Daddy” or The Richard D. James Album-era Aphex. Others, like “Gwely Mermans” and “Gwarek2” tend to recall early ambient works. Yet there are some like “Jynweythek, Ruglen Holon” that sound like one-off samples, testing new equipment; and a few (“Lornaderek”, “Bit 4”) hardly count as songs whatsoever. But these echoes from the past do not hinder the listening experience, especially when their past has been nothing but rich.

“Omgyjya Switch 7” starts off with whip cracks of sound and leads into heavy drill n’ bass noise that is nothing but pure, signature Aphex. “Bbydhyonchord” sounds like a lost party song from the 80’s and reminds you of earlier semi-goofy songs like “Fingerbib” and “Milkman”, both from The Richard D. James Album. “Avril 14th”, “Nanou2”, “Kesson Dalef”, and others are simple acoustic piano pieces -- unlike anything Aphex Twin has done before, with the ambient works being the only close equivalent. Probably the album’s highlight is the incredible 6-minute tour-de-force that is “54 Cymru Beats”, which ranks among Aphex’s best songs.

So why doesn't this album deserve a perfect 10, or even a 9.5? Well, unfortunately, it fails to live up to the standards set by his earlier releases. It doesn’t change the face of electronic music, but simply reminds us who the boss is. For longtime fans accustomed to hearing something new with every release, this album may come as a disappointment. There's been a lot of distaste thrown at the CD, simply because it doesn't sound all that "new" compared to his other releases. It sounds more like a garbage full of unreleased b-sides from yesteryear.

Also, because Drukqs huge mix of styles, it sometimes comes off a bit disjointed. He goes from a psycho drilling song to a soothing piano piece and back to another hyperactive song without batting an eyelash. While to others, they deem the album sequencing poorly executed, but in my opinion, it makes it all the better. But such minor nitpicks shouldn’t have to be made about this album. Overall, it’s fun to listen to and it recalls the best of Aphex’s career, while also adding some new classics to his catalog.

I love the album. Others hate it. They can go listen to The Strokes again and pretend they haven't heard that already the first time when they were called The Velvet Underground.

1. Jynweythek Ylow
2. Vordhosbn
3. Kladfvgbung Micshk
4. Omgyjya Switch 7
5. Strotha Tynhe
6. Gwely Mernans
7. Bbydhyonchord
8. Cock/Ver 10
9. Avril 14th
10. Mt. Saint Michel Mix+St. Michaels Mount
11. Gwarek 2
12. Orban Eq Trx 4
13. Aussois
14. Hy a Scullyas Lyf a Dhagrow
15. Kesson Daslef
16. 54 Cymru Beats
17. Btoum-Roumada
18. Lornaderek
19. Penty Harmonium
20. Meltphace 6
21. Bit 4
22. Prep Gwarlek 3B
23. Father
24. Taking Control
25. Petiatil Cx Htdui
26. Ruglen Holon
27. Afx237 V7
28. Ziggomatic V17
29. Beskhu3epnm
30. Nanou 2