Being nostalgic is one thing but was that Stakker Humanoid sample really necessary...
Olli Siebelt 2002
I didnt want to say it but there it is. After waiting what seems like ages after Richards previous work of Miami-bass meets Depeche Mode on acid genius, Windowlicker, we have finally been able to get our greedy hands on some new Aphex Twin material.
So whats it like? Well, Druqks sounds exactly like a mix tape made from various unreleased Caustic Window, Richard D. James and Ambient Works 2 sessions with a few new John Cage-esque pieces of minimal piano thrown in for good measure. Therein lies the problem, you see, as there is very little new and or overly exciting on this record. True, there are some amazing moments - Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michaels Mount is inspired, but then again, the first two minutes could easily just have been released on the last Squarepusher CD. 56 Cymru Beats again, is technically impressive - but again could have easily been released in 1994. Being nostalgic is one thing but was that Stakker Humanoid sample really necessary...again?
Druqks simply copies and pastes its loops and ideas from previous releases and rehashes them into something weve heard a million times before, albeit in a slightly different sequence. It isnt until we come to disc two that we see some of the more interesting material come to light. Here we find treated pianos and bells submerged in an 8 voice chorus but just as it starts to draw you in, it stops. It seems like hes run out of ideas a minute and a half into it and has to revert to remixing his old hardcore tracks to get the momentum flowing again. Its not until the last track Nanou 2 that we begin to hear James true colours come out and see what kind of mind blowing beauty hes capable of creating.
I think Druqks probably would have worked better as two separate releases with a lot more time and effort put into it. Dont get me wrong, I love Richard's work as much as the next guy, but for the all too brief moments of joy and beauty on this release, there is still far too much laziness for the truly awe-inspiring work to shine through.
He's still on top...but for how much longer remains to be seen.
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