Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-2008

Warp • 2015

Someone has to say it out loud: »Syro« was pretty okay, »Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt. 2« was pretty silly and the sheer mass of tracks that Richard D. James sent through various soundclouds was quite a mixed bundle. Nothing more, but at least nothing less, either. Mr. James has always considered his releases to be compilations rather than records, which is why he has only released two actual albums during his career: »…I Care Because You Do« and »Richard D. James Album«. These are the only two that count in the sense of a coherent album. »Syro«, on the other hand, was more of a collection of individual tracks. Pop-compatible goods from the archive, knitted together somewhat stringently, but that was pretty much it. Of course, this doesn’t automatically make a bad record, considering that the ambient records by Aphex Twins were made the same way and have become mile stones, very rightly so. The thing is that »Syro« was neither very innovative from a musical perspective, nor did it show any new aspects of the talented Mr. James. His new record, »Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-2008« is James’s first release under his AFX-alias in a whole decade. It openly carries its compilation character in its title and goes way back to an old facet of his works: AFX has always served as the analog alias of the odd Scotsman, and it’s committed to acid-shredder. It’s an outlet for some of his toughest and complex works, but also for… well… anthem-like tracks. Hermit-acid. Hardware-porn. In any case, it’s great fiddle-fun. Therefore, »Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-2008« starts out with a real fun track: »Serge Fenix Rendered 2«, which proudly carries the respective equipment in its title, as often practiced by Richard D. James, is a rumbling and bleeping acid-track. Despite its length of 3:17 minutes, it could serve as a proper DJ-tool and acts as a strategically placed highlight. What follows are two minutes less of disillusionment: »Dmx Acid Test« is a jam-track on top of a beat from the can, it’s no more than the prelude for »Oberheim Blacet1b«, which sends moody chords to war against exhilarated 303-lines and which ends in rattling breakbeats. What about »Bonus EMT beats«? The title says it all. »Simple Slamming b 2« races through fizzling hi-hats and the whole AFX-cosmos, while »Midi Pipe1c sds3time cube/klonedrm« moves hand over hand through an enervating pipe-motif. »NEOTEKT72« is the longest track of this mini-compilation from times long past. It’s six minutes long and pretty trivial. Then, there’s some beat-frippery in the final track, but it doesn’t really save anything. At least, »Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-2008« has the coherence in sound and style that »Syro« lacked. But that’s not all it takes. If this was a convincing AFX-comeback, it would sure look different.