The rollout for the announcement of Aphex Twin’s new EP ‘Collapse’, and its first single - if you can use such a word for his music - ‘T69 Collapse’, was a suitably mysterious revealing, with posters appearing slowly worldwide before the EP was finally announced via a trippy, partly unreadable press release from his label Warp. The song that follows, then, is predictably also far from simple to unravel.
Complete with its astonishing, otherworldly video - which, upon viewing, it’s easy to see why it failed the standard photosensitive epilepsy test - ‘T69 Collapse’ is a wonderfully subversive return from Richard D. James that sees him remain as aloof and non-commital as ever, but still managing to find untrodden ground.
Glitchy bass and delicate synths glide the track into life gracefully, and though there’s a thousand different elements going on in the track at once, they never seem in competition with other. Instead, they slide together to make something remarkably smooth.
That’s until the beat drops away just before the two-minute mark, and a dark, glitchy cloud descends over the track. The next two minutes are otherworldly, immersive and - to be honest - largely incomprehensible.
Aphex brings it back, though. After a premature ending, the track worms its way back into life, helmed until its close by a syrupy synth line which percussive beats worm their way around like moths to a flame. It’s not a predictable return from Aphex Twin, then. Of course it’s not. But the fact that he remains as evasive, as surprising and still just as mind-bending as ever, nearly thirty years into his career, is an achievement in itself.
The billboards and posters are back, guys.
The event takes place this July.
Enough familiarity to feel like returning home, and enough tweaks to the formula to resist sounding like National-by-numbers.
A fizzing, frantic mission statement showing that, just maybe, growing up isn’t all that.