May 19, 2012

RhoDeo 1220 Beats


Todays post links up to last weeks Aphex Twin as we explore his AFX moniker on his Analord series,  reinventing acid on 'A roland' machine or one of the many he scored after they got disgarded after the rise of digital machines.

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Although James continued making frequent DJ appearances, he released no more material until 2005, when Rephlex issued the first installment in a lengthy, 11-part series of 12" singles titled Analord. For the series James used his extensive collection of Roland drum machines which he bought when they were still at bargain prices.The singles' minimalist acid techno harked back to his Caustic Window/Analogue Bubblebath material of the early '90s. Chosen Lords, a CD compilation of some of the Analord material, appeared in April 2006.

Analord is a 3½ hour, 42-track series of recordings on 12" vinyl . The first instalment, Analord 10, went on sale through the Rephlex Records website on 15 December 2004, and was packaged in a faux-leather binder with sleeves for housing the rest of the series. It was later re-released as a picture disc. Both pressings of Analord 10 were marketed under James' primary alias Aphex Twin, although other Analord recordings were released under the AFX pseudonym.

James has programmed a variety of analogue equipment throughout his career. Instruments on Analord include drum machines such as the Roland TR-606, TR-808, and TR-909; sequencers such as the Roland MC-4; and various synthesizers and polysynths, including the Roland SH-101 and Roland TB-303, a Synton Fenix Modular

The name refers to the analogue and digital electronic music equipment James used to perform much of Analord, as well as being a double entendre. Since James has a penchant for anagrams, it is noteworthy that "Analord" is an anagram for "A Roland", perhaps referencing the manufacturers of de facto industry standard analogue synthesizers. It has also been speculated that the term "Analord" is a portmanteau, being derived from combination of the words analogue and lord, referring to Richard James' previous analogue programming, and the talent and recognition he has in his industry. "Analord" is also the title of a Luke Vibert track from "Lover's Acid" on Planet Mu.

On 24 December 2009, the website of Rephlex Records was re-launched and began posting unreleased/bonus tracks for the ANALORD series in MP3 and WAV digital formats. To date, 20 bonus tracks have been added to the series.

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The key word for Analord  is "acid." James has the archetypal gurgly 303 working overtime throughout, crunching out the melody on the upbeat "Where's Your Girlfriend?", letting the layered tendrils of squelch crawl over each other like a pit of electric-powered snakes in the mid-track breakdown. The bouncier "Grumpy Acid" fulfils the promise of its excellent title by sounding like the amplified gastric system of a robot badly in need of Pepto Bismol. "Steppingfilter 101" is mid-tempo mellow, with gentle synth pads floating behind the zig-zag buzz out front. It's a seriously retro sound, channeling precisely one offshoot of early "classic" IDM. If an unknown had released the tracks on Analord 1 in 1995, he would have been accused of straight ripping the AFX acid style. But James pioneered this sound, so I guess he has the right to return to it if he chooses.

Analord 2 is a little better, keeping the same palate while toning down the tired acid textures and delivering more melody. The tuneful "Phonatacid" isn't exactly riveting, but it does manage to undergo some interesting transformations over its nearly 10-minute length. "Laricheard" references the famed Chicago house pioneer Larry Heard in its title but is the most drifting and contemplative track here. It all sounds nice enough, but no one introduced to James with these tracks would be compelled to investigate further.

Analord 3 is particularly strong, beginning with "Boxing Day", which places a John Carpenter/Gershon Kingsley spooky Moog melody on top of a thrusting electro beat. The various elements are in constant movement in and around each other, and "Boxing Day" is busy and energetic even if it never exactly goes anywhere. "Midievil Rave 1" is all heavy ugliness, with dissonant and out-of tune sequences and some herky-jerky stop/start action that allows me to picture James riding the fader from all the way across the ocean. And "Klopjob", with simple yet funky drum programming and a lovely pastoral melody, is perhaps the best single track in the series so far.

AFX - Analord 01, 02, 03   (flac 322mb)

Analord 01
01 Steppingfilter 101 4:45
02 Canticle Drawl 1:45
03 MC-4 Acid 3:47
04 Untitled 1:31
05 Where's Your Girlfriend? 5:06
06 Grumpy Acid 3:21
07 Analord 158b 1:40
Analord 02
08 Phonatacid 9:47
09 Laricheard 2:15
10 Pissed Up In SE1 5:14
11 Bwoon Dub 5:55
Analord 03
12 Boxing Day 6:36
13 Midievil Rave 1 2:44
14 Klopjob 5:24
15 Midievil Rave 2 4:00

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Analord 4 is comparatively spare and almost as good. The bouncy "Crying in Your Face" has what could be some heavily vocodered vocals (or James could be he's just making the machines talk) and a strong pop feel, while the quiet, menacing "Home Made Polysynth" gets same mileage from between-note beats in the manner of Analord 3's "Midievil Rave 1". The closing "Breath March" is a deceptively great tune. On the one hand it's quiet, with almost nothing happening in the midrange, but the power of the fathoms-deep bass hook could easily be missed without proper playback equipment.

There's not much to recommend on the two-track fifth volume. The peppy "Reunion 2" has a wickedly squelching acid line that creates its own light trails, and the stiff "Cilonen" is by-the-numbers Detroit electro, sounding a bit like Drexciya without the mystery. At the halfway point the conservatism of James' approach is the most notable thing about the Analord series.

Much of Analord 6 will be familiar to anyone who's heard its predecessors. "Batine Acid" plies rote acid lines with intermittent spookiness, "Snivel Chew" adds sawtooth synths and rapid handclaps, and "2 Analogue Talks" at least mixes things up with squeaky, high-pitched scales giving way to the monotonous, clock-like donging of what sounds like a horn sample. Standout "I'm Self Employed" suggests that whatever James is up to, he's not just going through the motions-- at least not always. Fragile, lonely melodies and countermelodies reminiscent of his ambient works build into a rust-eyed chorus and actually take it somewhere.

Analord 7 kicks off with the (deceptively?) straightforward acid-house of "Lisbon Acid", which bloops, thumps, fuzzes, squelches, and ultimately meanders for an entire side. The echoey off-key synths of "Pitcard" start and stop on a dime, which is better than a nickel (worth more, too!). The "AFX Acid 04" evokes almost an acid remix of Spoon's "I Turn My Camera On" with its slinky changes and martial pace, before giving way to ominously discordant skarronking.

AFX - Analord 04, 05, 06, 07   ( flac 411mb)

Analord 04
01 Crying In Your Face 4:25
02 Home Made Polysynth 4:07
03 Halibut Acid 6:07
04 Breath March 3:46
Analord 05
05 Reunion 2 5:10
06 Cilonen 5:34
Analord 06
07 Batine Acid 5:26
08 Snivel Chew 4:02
09 I'm Self Employed 4:26
10 2 Analogue Talks 1:47
11 Analoggins 7:17
Analord 07
12 Lisbon Acid 8:29
13 Pitcard 6:18
14 AFX Acid 04 5:37

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With the release of his latest triad, James has reached a (temporary?) stopping point. Analord 10 actually came first last December, but it's been re-issued as a logo-bearing picture disc, and what does order matter when the man's latest sounds like his earliest? Each of the Analord releases adopts the AFX moniker, analogue synth sounds and even inscrutable titles he used in his early '90s Analogue Bubblebath acid-house recordings. (Except the original 10th, i.e. first, which was released as Aphex Twin. Got it?)

The tracks on Analord 8 are named for computer viruses, likely in an effort to discourage file-sharers. Then again, the pieces might have been so named because a few are among the series' most infectious so far. Awash in disco hi-hats, "PWSteal.Ldpinch.D" beckons with the type of decidedly non-digital lust, come-hither bass line, and slightly detuned hooks that a Kylie Minogue could have taken upchart. Blippy "W32.Deadcode.A" is almost as good once the bridge arrives like a between-storms rainbow. "Backdoor.Berbew.Q", meanwhile, rises and subsides with a burbling bass and choir-like synth chords, and "Backdoor.Spyboter.A" unfolds similarly over pings and more handclaps, but neither really goes anywhere. That's the disappointing crux of James's current collection of never-awful but rarely remarkable noodlings.

Analord 9-- comprising four tracks rather than the nine fakes originally leaked to file-sharing networks-- ups the BPMs, with skittering hi-hats galore. Bouncy "Backdoor.Netshow" is the highlight, panning left and right as a scratchy sawtooth eventually joins, then drowns in effects.

Analord 10 remains the best of the new EPs so far.  A-side "Fenix Funk 5" alternately buzzes and reclines, incorporating garbled, vocoder-like noises, and gently descending chimes along with energetic drum machines. The dense, dark seven-plus minutes of bell-tolling B-side "Xmd5a", still more melodic than most acid but playing hard to get, make it probably the series' best track. OK, some consensus, then.

Meanwhile, Analord 11 is colder, sadder, and less satisfying. Its two tracks, like those on the eighth and ninth outings, are named after viruses and spyware. A-side "W32.Mydoom.Au@mm" whines and moans over steady handclaps and padded cymbals like an electronic plea for help-- whether with musical ideas or personal life, it's far from clear. On the flip, "Backdoor.Ranky.S" layers drooping synths over a steady boom-pah rhythm, squelching lazily and unnecessarily toward the upper registers as the tune fizzles out.

AFX - Analord 08, 09, 10, 11  ( flac 410mb)

Analord 08
01 PWSteal.Ldpinch.D 3:43
02 Backdoor.Berbew.Q 4:57
03 W32.Deadcode.A 6:18
04 Backdoor.Spyboter.A 5:06
Analord 09
05 PWSteal.Bancos.Q 4:50
06 Trojan.KillAV.E 3:03
07 W32.Aphex@mm 3:52
08 Backdoor.Netshadow 4:49
Analord 10
09 Fenix Funk 5 5:07
10 XMD 5a 7:56
Analord 11
11 W32.Mydoom.AU@mm 8:47
12 VBS.Redlof.B 4:39
13 Backdoor.Ranky.S 6:00

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Anonymous said...

Oops...the 4-t FLAC link goes to the ogg version...

Rho said...

Oops indeed a mix up of zips, don't think that ever happened before, I've corrected my mistake now, thanks for the warning...


Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, I found the lossless files for Analord 4-7 is unavailable in America. At least I was unable to get anything from the link. I got the ogg files, though.

Appreciate your work. :thumbs up:

Anonymous said...

analord 04-07 all links dead.
remedy in sight? would be nice. thanks.

Anonymous said...

all flac links were meant, they are dead. otherwise respect for your wor, especially background info provided to each respective album.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Great blog you have here. Just stumbled across it today. Any chance you could post this Analord series again? I have been trying to find these tracks for a while and it would be great to hear them in good quality. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hello. Would you mind re-upping the Analord series? The links are currently down. I tried finding these records back when they were released but to no avail. I had the "greatest hits" version on CD but it only had a small portion of the tracks. Would be cool to hear the rest after all these years! Thanks. Best wishes, James

apf said...

Thank you so much Rho!

xlcr said...

Rho, thank you very much for re-upping these.

graham said...

Hi Rho, can you re-up the Aphex Analord series? Many thanks for the effort and hope you don't mind the the second request from me today.

graham said...

many thanks for re-up :-)

Ian said...

Thanks so much for re-upping this. Love what I have but the 'AFX - Analord 04, 05, 06, 07' download doesn't seem to download. Is it just me, or could you please...

johnb said...

re up on 01.02.03 please as no links are working :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot,a pleasant listen.Could someone share 1-3(1st one ) in comments as rho may not reupload it.Other two (2nd 3rd )are working.

RAJ BrAr said...

I ve all
Pm me there if you want others as well.