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A very special edition of Drukqs,
This review is from: Drukqs [Special Edition] [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Drukqs is one of Richard D. James' best albums, but then most of his other work is exceptional, so comparisons aren't too helpful. The only Aphex album which I have no trouble placing above Drukqs is Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, but that's another review (possibly).
This is certainly his most varied work, and that has caused some to dislike/misunderstand the album since it has an eclectic mix of drill'n'bass, Aphex beats, ambience and something new, his piano works, all of which understandably could prove frustrating. Upon my first few listens I thought that the intense stuff should have been separated from the piano and ambience onto the two separate discs, but continuing to come back to this brilliant music has made me realise that Aphex did indeed hit upon the correct track order, as it makes the album work as, well, an album in the traditional sense - a musical journey - rather than just a collection of tracks.
I remember reading somewhere that the attraction of Richard D. James' music is that in every track, even his most brutally intense, there is a hidden beauty somewhere, and I firmly believe this to be true. You can hear it in spades on this album, perhaps more than any other, with the exception of SAWII which overflows with beauty. The piano tracks are truly sublime, Avril 14th in particular being incredibly moving. Programming piano tracks to this level of emotional involvement, without any traditional musical knowledge or the ability to read music, takes a rare talent.
So what makes this special vinyl edition so special? At Richard D. James' request 1000 copies of the LP were pressed by RTI, a pressing plant based in California. Put simply, RTI press the best vinyl on the planet, and this makes a massive difference to this album. I own the standard and the special edition LPs, and the difference is significant. The detail, spaciousness, bass, dynamics etc are all superior, and the surface noise is far less, all of which makes for a much more involving listening experience. As for comparisons to CD, I won't even bother as they are so huge.
Get this while you still can, but don't get this for the collectable value, get it because it's the best you'll ever hear Aphex Twin's music.