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AFX:
orphaned deejay selek 2006-08 (Warp)

Richard
D. James dons his lesser-used AFX alias for this short collection of
alleged cast-offs and outtakes from around the same time as some of
his Analord records, and the sounds herein are pretty directly
aligned with the sound of those records. (Bonus points for the art direction hailing back to Warp’s very first release by Forgemasters!) However, “serge fenix
Rendered 2,” which starts things off, moves at a really fast clip,
not surprising considering the fast and furious programming on some
of his releases as AFX such as Hangable Auto Bulb. After holding out
on his audience for so many years, it’s great to see RDJ unveiling so
many ideas and tracks and tunes, showing off his prolificacy
retroactively. Compared to the impressive sprawl of his latest Aphex
Twin opus Syro, many of these tracks are quite short, most under 4
minutes (a few under 2 minutes), with only a couple longer ones with
more room to grow. “dmx acid test” sounds just as one might
expect, a squiggly acid workout that would sound right at home on one
of Ed DMX’s records. While that feels more obviously like a sketch,
“oberheim blacet1b” feels more fully formed, exploiting the same
knack for 303 basslines and knob twisting with skippy drum patterns
and woozy, bent pads. It’s one of my personal favorites, a standout
with a strange beauty. “bonus EMT beats” makes perfect sense as a
DJ tool, all rhythm and no bass, no doubt one handy tool of many in
RDJ’s arsenal.

Another standout for me is “simple slamming b 2,”
a vamped up four-to-the-floor that has a fantastically fat bassline
underneath his signature bending, dizzying leads. Even little
sketches like “r8m neotek beat” sound good, occasionally tapping
into some of the weirder midtempo vibes of his mid 90s …I Care
Because You Do
material. As its title clearly states, it’s not new
material and isn’t necessarily anything too surprising, but I welcome
this and more from the RDJ vaults, showing off his many talents with
the same sharpness that characterizes most of his output.

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