Probably the most anticipated EP of the year, Collapse is something of a return to form for electronic music legend Aphex Twin. Releasing several classics during the 1990’s including Richard D. James and both Selected Ambient Works albums, among many other memorable singles, EP’s and collaborations, he all but vanished after 2001’s double LP Drukqs.
Known for his unique and unmistakable experimental sound, ranging from blissful ambience to more a rhythmically complex drill and bass style that he helped pioneer alongside Squarepusher, he finally emerged from a 13-year hiatus in 2014. Although not up to his usual high standards, Syro was a fairly solid return. The same could not be said for the underwhelming Cheetah EP though, which followed in 2016.
His latest Collapse EP sees him upping his game considerably. Largely an amalgamation of his near three decade career thus far, it’s far more imaginative and much fresher sounding than any of his recent releases. Meticulously constructed from beginning to end with more twists and turns than a drunk snake, it features a dynamic blend of techno and ambient styles alongside jungle, footwork and even a bit of hip hop.
Lead single ‘T69 Collapse’ is packed full of rhythmic complexity, going from clean to something altogether darker during its mid-section and back out the otherside again. Featuring his trademark skittering beat patterns and soft, playful synths, it’s one of the most exciting track to be released this year, accompanied by a mind blowing video crafted by Weirdcore.
More challenging than the lead single, ‘1st 44’ feels quite spacious at first but grows more restless as it progresses. Containing elements of jungle and hip hop, it features punchy and complex beats, harsher sounding synths and manipulated vocals. Played during his 2017 performance at Field Day, ‘MT1 t29r2’ is more melodic but also quite unpredictable, with synths leading the way as it shifts several times before taking a turn towards ambience.
Rumoured to be a collaborative effort with Jlin, ‘abundance10edit[2 R8’s, FZ20m & a 909]’ is instead a nod to her footwork style. More meandering, it features a classic Aphex Twin synth melody and childlike vocals with an ambient ending. Everything about closing track ‘phtex’ suggests it may be an older piece that’s been re-worked. Featuring an acid techno style with hints of ambience, it’s something that wouldn’t have been out of place on 1995’s …I Care Because You Do.
‘Collapse’ is available now via Warp Records