As prolific and secretive about his appearance in music as Banksy is in the art world, Richard D. James (much better known as Aphex Twin) is a regular when discussing incredible electronic music (sometimes called Intelligent Dance Music). He is the co-founder of Rephlex Records, and is perhaps best known for the 1999 track ‘Windowlicker’. It peaked at number 16 in the UK singles chart at the time. After his 2001 release ‘Drukqs’, he (or at least ‘Aphex Twin’) went silent for 13 years. He returned in 2014 with the grammy-winning ‘Syro’.
As you might expect, any news from him brings with it a tremendous amount of excitement from fans of the genre, and we got some big news this week. So big that it may inspire many musicians to come, although I am seeing striking similarities with what Fugazi do with their online presence and store. After a month of teasing on his website, it was finally revealed that a giant collection of Aphex Twin material (including many unreleased and alternative tracks, as well as other projects) was available for purchase and streaming, in lossless FLAC and mp3 formats. With merchandise and vinyl/CD options also available, it is essentially one huge online archive of Aphex Twin material, a treasure trove of music for fans old and new.
What this means for the Fanbase
It allows his dedicated fanbase to come directly to him for all things Aphex Twin. They bypass fees and commercials from other various streaming and digital stores available online. It’s likely that all the extra tracks aren’t going to be available anywhere else, which should drive a tremendous amount of traffic to his site. It’s a very cool development, as it could mean that more and more big artists take to their own sites and stores and try to deliver their music directly to their fans, offering more personal incentives and cutting out the middle man.
Fugazi came to mind when I saw this. That band set up a website back in 2011, selling recordings of around 800 concerts across their career. Who knows, we could see a future industry where bands can have such a sustainable business model like this! On their own, recording everything and being selective with when and where they post it.
Aphex Twin’s website is live now, available at https://aphextwin.warp.net/
By Matt Lott