Zoë Blade's notebook

Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin (Drawing: Srta.Aiko)
Aphex Twin (Drawing: Srta.Aiko)

Aphex Twin makes abrasive industrial music, and beautiful ambient music. He rarely makes anything in between, more often juxtaposing these extremes together. As with fellow Warp Records act Autechre, his music's unique.


The first thing I wanted to do with my music was make it completely original. I didn't want to make a track that used anyone else's sounds, not even the drums.

— Richard D. James (Aphex Twin), 1992[1]

...I didn't have any money. If I wanted to get anything different, I had to change what I had or make something. Through customising the stuff, I got a working knowledge of the keyboards and the circuitry... I realised that making the stuff and coming up with sounds that no-one else could was my main asset, so I decided to keep working on it.

— Richard D. James, 1993[2]

I don't want to use a sound I've used before. There's an infinite number of sounds in the world, and it's a waste to use the same sound twice.

— Richard D. James, 1993[3]

I hate making music that sounds like other people. I make my music consciously different, the same way that other people make theirs sound consciously the same.

— Richard D. James, 1996[4]

It's something that I've always liked. I like mixing complex things with simple things, so the complex things don't get too avant-garde and way out... To do really complicated things is just a matter of time, how much time you spend doing it, and you know you can produce it if you spend enough time, something that's going to be complicated — the challenge comes from making it like really accessible at the same time; so I like to mix something simple, or deceptively simple, with it.

— Richard D. James, 1997[5]

I just try and make things as personal as possible. I don't make music that won't do something to me in some shape or form, otherwise it's a waste of time. It's got to affect me in some way when I listen back to it, or when I'm making it, and that's the only underlying requirement of any track I do, for me... If there's no emotion in it, it's rubbish, it just becomes a technical exercise.

— Richard D. James, 1997[6]

Equipment list

Pre 1992

Additions circa 1992

Additions circa 1993

Additions circa ...I Care Because You Do

Additions circa Windowlicker

Additions circa Analord

Unknown era

Selected discography

See also


  1. "Deeply Dippy" Tony Marcus, Mixmag, Dec 1992
  2. "The Aphex Effect" Dave Robinson, Future Music, Apr 1993, pp. 22—23
    Note: The "Aphex Effect" interviewer mentions Aphex Twin having a System-100M for many years, but probably means the System-100 Model-101: the "Cagey, Canny, Krafty" interviewer the same year says he only just got the System-100M; the previous year's "Richard's at Door of Disc Dreamland" interview shows the System-100 Model-101 keyboard in the photo; and the "Aphex Effect" interviewer describes it as a monosynth, which is more how you would describe the System-100 Model-101. So probably James said something like "I bought a Roland 100 monosynth when I was 13" and that got minimally researched and typed up as "100M" because the 100 is more obscure, so the interviewer thought he just omitted the M.
  3. "Cagey, Canny, Krafty" Phil Ward, Music Technology, Jul 1993, pp. 52—58
  4. "Getting Away With It" Frank Tope, Mixmag, Oct 1996
  5. "Eponymous Rex" Marc Weidenbaum, Disquiet, Apr 1997
  6. Morning Becomes Eclectic, Sep 1997
  7. "~~ rephlex ~~ aphex ~~ drn ~~" Ben Middleton, alt.rave, Oct 1992
  8. "'Destroy' Aphex Twin studio photo circa 1993"
  9. "Aphex Twin Live in Paris" Apr 1993
  10. "Aphex Twin SYROBONKERS! Interview Part 1" Dave Noyze, 2014
  11. "Aphex Twin SYROBONKERS! Interview Part 2" Dave Noyze, 2014
  12. "Selected Ambient Works Volume II" Richard James, 2017
  13. "Richard's at Door of Disc Dreamland" Jeremy Ridge and Dale Webb, The West Briton and Royal Cornwall Gazette, Jan 1992
  14. "Live and Kicking" Andy Crysell, DJ Magazine, 1993
  15. "Aphex Twin studio collage"
  16. "Polygon Window" Polygon Window, Surfing on Sine Waves, 1992
  17. "1989. Made on near impossible to use QX21 sequencer." "5 window peeper+6-Pbod" user18081971, Aug 2015
  18. "High Hats Tune Tamclap Orig" Richard James, Jan 2015
  19. "Synthi Rhy" Richard James, Feb 2015
  20. "Tiger Cub Delay" Richard James, Feb 2015
  21. "@c_r_y_s_t:pretty sure it was Dr. T's Tigercub on the Atari ST...software you hardly ever hear about." "a12. ab3 .215061." user18081971, Oct 2020
  22. "PrncDMC" Richard James, Feb 2015
  23. "Insert Coin. Pac-Man. Eat them up, yum yum! Power-Pill. Whoops!" "Pac-Man (Original Full Version)" Power-Pill, Pac-Man, 1992
  24. "...electronic techno music, controlled manually by Aphex Twin's programs." "UT1 — Dot" Polygon Window, Surfing on Sine Waves, 1992
  25. "Re: aphex and 808" Ben Middleton, IDM, Nov 1993
  26. "The Waxen Pith" Aphex Twin, ...I Care Because You Do, 1995
  27. "Pearls" Richard James, Jan 2015


Artists: Aphex Twin | Autechre | Derrick May | Fatboy Slim | Juan Atkins | Kevin Saunderson | Kraftwerk | LFO (artist) | Man Machine | Moby | Nine Inch Nails | Orbital | Richie Hawtin | The Future Sound of London | The Prodigy | Underworld | Vladimir Ussachevsky | Wendy Carlos | William Orbit | Zoë Blade

R&S Records: Aphex Twin | Juan Atkins

Rephlex Records: Aphex Twin

Warp Records: Aphex Twin | Aphex Twin guide | Autechre | LFO (artist) | Richie Hawtin