Richard D James is a bit like Ennio Morricone, in that his music is almost instantly recognisable no matter the context, and generally speaking is head and shoulders above all the others out there in their fields.
I'll admit however, that I bought this many moons ago without much knowledge of who Polygon Window was/is. I bought it purely down to my burgeoning love of the Warp label, of The Black Dog circa Spanners, of the artificial intelligence series, and of Aphex Twin himself, through both Selected Ambient albums and I care...
So I was looking to bolster my Warp collection, with artists like Speedy J and Two Lone Swordsmen. This was in Tower, the badly printed CD cover glowering at me from under the label "Artificial Intelligence." So I assumed it was a sample compilation of the label, and that the compilation was called Polygon Window. Snapped it up for a tenner, brought it home, slapped it on and as the album progressed I thought : hmm. This sounds a lot like Aphex Twin. Sure enough, on squinted reading of the impossibly dark and near unreadable text on the back cover, there was the name Richard D James. At the time it felt like a huge discovery.
On repeat listens then, it does and it doesn't sound like James. It's slithery, bouncy, sometimes heavy-hitting ( Quoth rattles along like a head-banging skeleton, a heavy centre-pointed kick drum surrounded by skittery percussion; it's everything that Bonus EMT Beats from his latest EP isn't ) and always insular. The album's closest companion would be Selected Ambient Works, but it has an early Black Dog feel to its synths and swirls. Every track has a forward drive to it, meaning that - as ever with Aphex - even if it's another compilation of random tracks turned into an album, they still gel together perfectly. The man knows how to sequence his work. It has the strange and alien feeling of a new soundtrack, each track progressing the increasingly weird story.
Everything here is top notch, but best of the bunch are the eponymous opening track, the Sound of Music sampling Supremecy II, and the Blade rave soundtracking UT1 Dot, a dark acidy track filled with quiet, creeping menace.
Like Morricone, I think Aphex's earlier, experimental - cheaply produced - personal work is far more interesting than his latter day productions and this is one of his best early works.
But like Morricone I still think he's head and shoulders above everyone else and always worth a listen.
By Richard James in one of his guises, the most famous being Aphex Twin. Sine Waves takes in an experimental approach, with unusual samples being sublimely crafted. The whole music is techno style, but not full-on club style. You may want to relax and listen in your front room, or as great, non-irritating company when you work away at home (I'm a Web designer). It's so cool. If you are into mainstream or chart music, this may take getting used to and require patience. If you like dance music but don't want to have to move like mad all the time, this is a great tonic. It's chill out stuff with it's feet on the ground, not designed to take you to 'another zone'. Buy it.
Classic album of its time. There is a melancholy..and light only evident when the artist was young and had his finger on the button. Later Richard James seemed to be searching for a sound. Here he just "is". Takes me back and still stands up today.
This is like the techno equivalent of Selected Ambient Works Volume 1 (by the Aphex Twin). It certainly doesn't sound like the average techno album, mainly because the sounds used are mostly unique (he used to make his own synths). The tracks sound haunted and they always make me think how lonely the surfer on the cover looks.