ID Music for February 1, 2015: AFX, Zeit, Urzeit

ID-Music-Header-Aphex-Aerostat

Inter-Dimensional Music returns with the Big Bend’s Number One broadcast of white magic and black metal tonight, February 1, 2015. If you’re out here in Far West Texas tune in from 9-11p (CST) on the first Sunday of each month at KRTS 93.5 FM in Marfa, KRTP 91.7 FM in Alpine and KDKY 91.5 FM in Marathon. You can also stream the show live at marfapublicradio.org, and find archived sets on Soundcloud.

In the first hour we’re going to relive our late ’90s turn as a Los Angeles rave reporter for techno/hip-hop magazineURB by sifting through the trove of tracks that Aphex Twin released earlier this week. The deluge of new music triggered a massive serotonin rush in listeners of a certain age, for whom AFX represents a kind of ideal synthesis of hip-hop’s low-end thump, slinky earworms, Eno-esque ambient glide, and Throbbing Gristle-worthy transgression.

A quick summary of why some people are very excited: Richard D. James hadn’t released any new music since 2001’sDrukqs. He emerged with three new things in the past year: A single copy of a mostly unheard 1994 album of spastic breakbeat, Caustic Window, sold at auction for $46,300 to the guy who created Minecraft; an immediately beloved new album called Syro; and then a trickier EP, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2. Arrival of said music was heralded, in part, by the appearance of an Aphex Twin blimp in the skies over London.

Last week the ever-vigilant AFX superfans who scour the internet for any sign of the wily musician discovered aSoundcloud user who was uploading songs that sounded a lot like classic Aphex Twin. Word spread, obsessive fans debated their authenticity on message boards, and as the user48736353001 account posted more and more music aconsensus emerged that these were the real deal. Those listeners of a certain age began to rejoice as the catalog of new-old music grew to 110 songs. For some perspective, imagine if D’Angelo followed up on Black Messiah by giving away eight albums of top-shelf unheard material from his decade of silence.

The prankish nature of the release made it seem even more intimate, as the user now assumed to be the man himself cracked wise and offered inebriated philosophy in the comments … 

we are always changing, if i go back to something literally 5-10 minutes later I will do it very differently and i did this about 20 years ago! so.. , yeah I hardly even recognise myself, so you just have to appreciate yourself in the moment and go with it . Things change but time as in ‘before’ or ‘after’ are just words, human constructs. There is only now , there is only now ,whoops it’s gone. ok I’m drunk and talking to people i don’t know, is that good ,i ve no idea, hi!

In the days since the ID Music offices have been reviewing the 8 and half hours of new Aphex Twin music, and, taking a cue from one of the aforementioned music board commenters, we’re using this as a “build your own AFX album kit,” and have put together an hour of the ambient selections from what is now poetically known as the Great 2015 Richard D. James Soundcloud Dump.


In the second hour we’ll be paying tribute to the great Edgar Froese, who died unexpectedly on January 20. In addition to his solo work — regular listeners of ID Music will know how hard we jam to Epsilon in Malaysian Pale — Froese was the cornerstone of Tangerine Dream, and is eulogized by his frequent film score collaborator Michael Mann here, in Billboard

Right then, the work of Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Faust was an explosion of experimental and rich material from a young generation coming of age out of the ruins and separating itself from WWII Germany. It was the cutting edge of electronic music. And, it had content. It wasn’t sonic atmospheres. There was nothing in the UK or the States like it.

Further, there was a relationship between the blues and Froese because he had started out as a blues guitarist. Even though their music was electronic, it had a twelve bar blues structure to most of it. More importantly he, as an artist and a man, was connected to the material reality of life on the street and he found musical inspiration there, as does the Blues.

We’ll be playing music from his solo albums, as well as a cut from Tangerine Dream’s dark kosmiche masterpiece Zeit, the effect of which is famously described in by Julian Cope in Krautrocksampler as “…its remarkable unchanging unfolding near-static barely-shifting vegetable organic-ness takes over the room and permeates the whole house.”

Then we shall procede further into the time-wastes, meeting Zeit with primordial blackened crust from Portland’sUrzeit, some Kali Yuga blues from Prague’s Cult of Fire and moon-eyed metal from China’s Ghost Bath.


And finally, we leave you with a truly Superb Owl to mark this holiest of days in American Football: This Wise Messenger sculpture carved from agate and geode, via Skullis’ highly recommended “A Crystal Skull a Day” feature:

Wise Messenger is a beautiful Brazilian agate geode with crystal terminations that cover one side of the sculpture with a myriad of sparkles, like stars in the night sky, while underneath a silent owl glides down to shield an agate crystal skull under finely detailed feathered wings, keeping watch through the night. Wise Messenger is a beautifully executed sculpture that takes advantage of the natural rock and crystal formations to bring a fascinating scene to life; a faithful friend, a vigilant guardian, a close companion, and a wise guide to share dreams and secrets with. … read on at Skullis.

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