AFTER LISTENING TO the eight episodes of pure sonic psychosis that make up Come to Daddy, it's hard to believe that Cornish bedroom composer Richard D. James (a.k.a. Aphex Twin) was once known as a composer of ambient music. If, in fact, "ambient" still refers to the art of making inconspicuous aural wallpaper, then James's new Come To Daddy is where that paper gets violently torn to bits and whimsically pieced back together in a colorful maze of jarring juxtapositions and indecipherable patterns.
James makes channel-surfing tone poems and ear-splitting noise collages for the electro age. In the past he has coaxed music out of blenders, sandpaper, and vacuum cleaners; on Daddy's "Bucephalus Bouncing Ball" he comes up with what sounds like a metallic Superball ricocheting off the walls of a drainage pipe and a rhythmically creaking door that's been shaped into a drum track.
But this is more than just a showcase for James's eccentric and twisted man-as-machine music. Come To Daddy is also an excuse to let his famously fantasy-hungry inner child play the role of the perverse grown-up. Through a series of repeated voice manipulations, James gives us a rogue's gallery of creepy adults. There's a wheezing and whimpering "little funny man" ("Funny Little Man"); a demonic overlord who growls "I want your soul" over a wall of electro-punk horror-core and battling laser beams ("Come To Daddy"); and a potty-mouthed Stephen Hawking soundalike who sweetly requests, "I would like to fuck you up the bunghole" on "Come to Daddy [Mummy Mix]." The only moment of rest comes on "Flim," when James locks his voices away and sends a simple angel-footed piano line up an ascending staircase of beats. Amidst so many altered states, he still finds room to make three minutes of the most beautiful electronic wallpaper his bedroom has ever produced.
Check out this week's featured ad for Entertainment