Album: Chosen Lords
Artist: AFX / Aphex Twin
Label: Rephlex
Year: 2006
Rating: 3/5
Summary: Dark, quirky music. Interesting, but not for everyone.

When Aphex Twin released the expensive Analord series of vinyl EPs, I probably wasn't the only one hoping it would come out on a more popular format at a reasonable price. That wish was partly fulfilled with Chosen Lords, which fits a quarter of the tracks onto a single CD. Although they aren't necessarily the best cuts from the whole series, they're far from the worst, and an hour is probably as long as you'll want to spend in a row listening to these oddities.

Aphex Twin took more than just the name from Luke Vibert's album Lover's Acid - the style itself also looks similar on paper, revolving around acid lines played on analogue synthesisers. In practice, however, these tracks are chaotic and dark, a far cry from the relatively simple, loud and fun style of Vibert's work.

By this point in his career, Aphex Twin seems to have retreated into his own world, completely ignoring what everyone else's music sounds like. I'm sure he enjoys listening to his own compositions, but the interested outsider stumbling across these later releases will likely find it hard to get into his world of scattered beats and quick, complex acid lines.

This refusal to cater to people used to mainstream music seems like a conscious choice. Aphex Twin could undoubtedly make accessible music without sacrificing his artistic integrity if he chose to - the most accessible track on the album, PWSteal.Ldpinch.D, is proof of this. Its drumbeat alternates between a reproduction of It Doesn't Matter from The Chemical Brothers's album Dig Your Own Hole and a regular four-to-the-floor house beat, each part accompanied by its own relatively catchy melodies.

The tradeoff is arguably worth it, however, as writing music for people who enjoy listening to music for its own sake allows Chosen Lords to be as interesting as it is. It's certainly a unique album, but it is only suitable for people who are already familiar with, and already enjoy, Aphex Twin's previous work. If you like the Richard D. James Album or the fast cuts of Drukqs, it's worth seeking out. Otherwise, you'd be wise to try out his earlier albums first.

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