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Posted on August 22nd, 2015 (12:00 pm) by Ali Van Houten

If you settled in for another long winter after Aphex Twin’s dramatic stunts last year, it’s time to wake up.

Hot on the heels of the new tracks he released via SoundCloud earlier this year, the infamously unpredictable techno mastermind Richard D. James is keeping the ball rolling with yet another new album, Orphaned Deejay Selek (2006-2008), out now on Warp. Before last year’s acclaimed Syro broke the seal on a deluge of recordings, it had been 13 years since a full-length record under the Aphex Twin moniker was released. With this latest release, however, James returns to the stage name AFX, one he’s adopted intermittently since he achieved fame in the ‘90s. It’s a significant choice; the name is a portent of the album’s content, which is reminiscent of some of his earlier music but not equivalent to his best. While not the apogee of his work, Orphaned Deejay Selek reminds us why we love James as he delivers another artful collection of acid techno laced with glitch and jungle.

James leaps into the thick of it with “serge fenix Rendered 2,” an acid techno frenzy that flows right into the second track, and then the third, without pause. But track three is where things start to get really interesting. “oberheim blacet1b” is a standout, featuring an ominous ambient interlude that segues into some serious glitch. The following track, “EMT bonus beats,” is a much sparser homage to “bonus beats,” or old-school filler tracks for a 12” or live DJ set. The track actually does bonus-beat duty, acting as a DJ’s interlude in this mix-like album. Like a great live set, the tracks on Orphaned Deejay Selek run together without obtrusion, simply blending from one into another as easily as the disparate elements of acid house and ambient are blended with techno and even industrial.

James flies through the eight tracks, refusing to let you stop and think about what’s happening. But even amidst this kinetic energy, certain songs still manage to arrest your attention. “simple slamming b 2,” a super speedy acid house number with discordant ambience laid over interesting off-beats, keeps you on your toes the whole way through. Then, out of nowhere, the following track picks up with a panpipe rhythm and light, semi-erratic percussion that drifts into a discordant cacophony. The jungle-inspired “NEOTEKT72” ends the album decisively alongside partner “r8m neotek beat,” a beat track for the more complex penultimate song of the album.

It’s safe to say things get weird throughout the album, but that’s why we love James. He’s never been afraid to take chances, and in doing so he’s created some of the best electronic music of the past few decades. Much of Orphaned Deejay Selek lacks the intensity of his more lauded releases, especially his AFX Analord series. Here he maintains a more minimalist style, with songs and an overall album that’s not thoroughly developed as a whole. However, that’s not to say it’s wanting. After all, it would be hard for anyone to live up to the praise Aphex Twin (or AFX, or any of his other myriad pseudonyms) has garnered over the years. He may well be scraping the archives here, but that only means his best stuff is even better.

Track Listing
1. serge fenix Rendered 2
2. dmx acid test
3. oberheim blacet1b
4. bonus EMT beats
5. simple slamming b 2
6. midi pipe1c sds3time cube/klonedrm
7. NEOTEKT72
8. r8m neotek beat

AFX Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-08
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

74 / 100
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