Monday, October 15, 2007

Richard D. James is More Talented Than You or I Will Ever Be

After a prolonged absence (sorry, but the Sox are in the ALCS and lots of things in my life suffer when that happens), I have finally made some time in my life to share some wonderful musical nuggets with you people. First on the list, my 'discovery' (in that, it is new to me) of an electronic music "duo" named The Tuss.

Now, I put "duo" in quotes because it seems plainly obvious to me that The Tuss is in fact an alias for Richard D. James, otherwise known as Aphex Twin (or AFX, Analord, Power-Pill, Blue Calx, The Dice Man, Polygon Window or many other monikers), and not, as the story goes, comprised of Cornish brother-sister combo Brian and Karen Tregaskin. Even if there is no official confirmation of this, the breadcrumbs all lead to the same place. For one, both of their releases are on Aphex Twin's Rephlex Records label (not to mention, they share the same publisher), there's the heavy reliance on rare analog synthesizers (including the Yamaha GX-1, of which James owns one of the 50 ever made), and also the fact that "tuss" is a Cornish slang for an erect penis (James is Cornish). Of course, the most compelling piece of evidence to support this "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" theory is the music itself.

So far only two releases bear The Tuss moniker: the Confederation Trough EP and the Rushup Edge LP, but all of the music is unmistakably Aphex Twin. Or, at the very least (to entertain the idea that The Tuss is in fact not Richard D. James), a flawlessly executed imitation of Aphex Twin. Either way, each song features a careful craftsmanship of analog beats, loops and samples that are sequenced together with the kind of impeccable timing that only an electronic prodigy like Richard D. James could pull off. There's an attention to detail here that is hard to articulate with so many sounds pulsating and swirling throughout the nine tracks that comprise the entire recorded output of The Tuss. Much of it builds upon the exceptional work James did on the Analord series, with some elements of Acid, Ambient Techno and IDM mixed in to ensure that it can't be boxed into the confines of any one genre. Basically, if it were possible for something to 'tickle' your synapses, then I supposed it would sound like this.

"Alspacka" from The Confederation Trough EP

"Rushup I Bank 12" from the Rushup Edge LP

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