Aphex Twin – Donkey Rhubarb

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A near-25-minute package that showcases four different sides of Richard D. James: his capacity for tune and playfulness (the counterpoint of “Donkey Rhubarb”), annoyance (the alarm-like synth that blares throughout “Vaz Deferenz”), classical music (the minimalism of the Philip Glass version of “Icct Hedral”) and quiet (“Pancake Lizard”). But it’s a time-waster nonetheless, and I’d say that even if the only thing on the package was the title track – once Aphex Twin introduces the second melody (around the 1:10 mark), the song has nowhere to go, and lo, it doesn’t. (That being said, the song does sound like the inside of a toy factory, by which I mean toy-like robots are constructing, well, more toy-like robots.) The one that linkz testiclez to urethraz does have a good part near the middle where the drums make the alarm feel like it’s going faster, but that’s really it. Around this time, the way Philip Glass was going about popularizing classical music was by applying his slow-orchestra method to David Bowie albums, so it makes sense that he would cover Aphex Twin too; it’s a formal success, much like what Philip Glass’s Bowie covers; more of a curiosity than anything. Which leaves “Pancake Lizard,” which is about the second-best track on the EP the best track on the EP, where the loud smack of the drums contrasts well with the strings. I originally wrote “calm” instead of “quiet” in my opening line, but the former suggests something, well, calmer even if they are synonymous, and I don’t think this one qualifies as “calm”: there’s something sinister buried underneath the drums and strings. I realize I rated this one equally to Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 – this one’s better, if that means anything.

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3 responses to “Aphex Twin – Donkey Rhubarb

  1. I’ve always sort of avoided this act, largely because electronic music isn’t often my thing, and I was disturbed by that picture of his face on a bikini clad woman. Just… no.

    Anyway, I played the video you linked, and I cannot ever imagine a time in my life where playing this might seem a good idea. Good on you, though, for being able to play it and write something intelligent about it!

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