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Aphex Twin 

26 Mixes for Cash (Warp)

Assembling a retrospective of Aphex Twin's decade-plus remix work on two discs is like slapping a painting each from Picasso's Pink, Blue, and Cubist periods into one book and assuming it's cohesive enough to make sense. Richard D. James (Aphex) has gone through at least as many stylistic phases as Picasso, but what makes things even more confounding for casual admirers of his work is that he never seems to tire of any of them. So 26 Mixes for Cash contains this year's obsessively complex "Acid Edit" -- based on James's own "Windowlicker" masterpiece -- rendered in an aesthetic that serious knob-twiddlers left for fallow in 1992 (that is, acid house). Likewise, the almost universally reviled gabber style (brutally fast and intentionally obnoxious) is right there, pounding away in his version of Kinesthesia's "Triachus."

Needless to say, this compilation is about as dense, heterogeneous, and demanding a listen as can be found in electronic music. Fortunately, the album does eliminate many of James's pointless overindulgences. The result is a collection that ranks up there with Kruder and Dorfmeister's K&D Sessions as one of the mightiest, most sonically rewarding compilations of alternate versions ever put together.

More by Darren Keast

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