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Aphex Twin Reverses Himself

"Avril 14th," there and back again

Aphex Twin, aka Richard D. James, continues his return to semi-public existence as a musician by posting to his under-appreciated SoundCloud account, soundcloud.com/richarddjames, which as of this writing has just 7,089 subscribers. The account got some coverage this past week when he posted recordings attributed to his young son. He also revisited some of his own more youthful music, specifically “Avril 14th.” Originally appearing on the 2001 album Drukqs, “Avril 14th” is one of Aphex Twin’s most licensed tracks, having, among other things, appeared in a Sofia Coppola movie and been sampled as part of a Kanye West track (“Blame Game,” off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). The newly posted “Avril 14th Reversed Music Not Audio” is exactly that, not the song played backwards by reversing the recording, but the song played backwards a note at a time. The echo in the room is strong and seems to share a certain resonance with “Aisatsana,” the final track off Aphex Twin’s Syro, the recent album that marked his return to active pop-culture duty. It says something about the structural simplicity of the original “Avril 14th” song that the melody reversed sounds no less composed, no less thoughtful, no less lovely.

Of course, an Aphex Twin release is, as always, as much the beginning of a process as it is the end, which is to say post-release treatments have followed, such as the inevitable and welcome “what happens when you reverse the reversed” version. Hearing the melody unfold as a series of reversed notes is like listening to a funhouse mirror made of cellophane. It’s an instant-classic example of making the familiar exotic, and brings to mind the machinations that Hans Zimmer employed with the Inception score by interpolating Édith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien.” Here is the reversed reversal of “Avril 14th” by a Eugene, Oregon”“based musician who goes by the name Granola:

And here, related to that room-resonance comment up top, is “Aisatsana,” off Syro:

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • […] (from Klaus Nomi, 1981) 8) Aphex Twin – “Avril 14th Reversed Music Not Audio” (self-released, 2014) 9) Mica Levi – “Love” (from Under The Skin, 2014) 10) John Fahey – […]

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