Summary of How Aphex Twin Spurned the 90s Dance Mainstream ("Windowlicker") | New British Canon

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Aphex Twin was a popular DJ and producer in the 1990s, but he rejected the mainstream dance music scene. His most famous track, "Windowlicker," only ever got to Number 16 on the UK Singles Chart. However, his later work has been well-received by critics and he has gained a new following on Patreon.

  • 00:00:00 In this video, New British Canon tells the story of how Aphex Twin defied the mainstream dance music scene of the 90s by creating music that was unlike anything else on the market. His early influences included game loading sound from the early home computer, the Spectrum ZX81, as well as the Jesus and Mary Chain album LPs. His first releases were not commercially successful, but he was well known in the local free party scene for his beach party sets that were solely composed of tracks recorded to C90 cassettes. His anthem "Digeridoo" was inspired by the stoned travellers that had a habit of playing the instrument at these parties.
  • 00:05:00 In 1991, Aphex Twin released the album "Windowlicker" which was a mad and psychedelic album that was not well received by the mainstream dance music community. However, rave promoter Mark Darby pursued James for three months and eventually signed him to his label, Mighty Force, and released "Analogue Bubblebath" in September 1991. The album's lo-fi nature, along with the mindset of creating an album built for headphones, made it stand out from the polished house music that was hitting the charts in 1992.
  • 00:10:00 Aphex Twin's early 90s music was acclaimed by the indie press and students across the UK for its unique sound, which bridged the gap between guitar-based music of the past and more mainstream dance music. However, James would later switch to Warp Records and release Selected Ambient Works Volume II, which would be his most successful album and enter the UK Top 40. James later moved to London, which allowed him to explore his musical ancestors more easily.
  • 00:15:00 Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker" is one of the most critically acclaimed electronic albums of the 1990s, but some people didn't appreciate it when it came out. Aphex Twin's lucid dreaming may have help him create the album's dreamy sound. The album was mostly composed on a Macintosh computer, which allowed him to create some unconventional beats. Aphex Twin released a compilation album of 26 mixes for cash in 1995, which is the title of his best-known track.
  • 00:20:00 In the 1990s, Aphex Twin was a prominent figure in the UK dance music scene with tracks such as "Windowlicker" and "Come to Daddy." However, by the late 1990s, he had begun to feel disillusioned with the music industry and retired shortly thereafter. In 1996, Big Beat (a popular pop-oriented subgenre of UK dance music) became the dominant style and James' single "Come to Daddy" became a number one hit. Despite this mainstream success, he has since expressed dissatisfaction with the way his music is often interpreted by the public.
  • 00:25:00 In the 1990s, Aphex Twin was a popular DJ and producer, but he rejected the mainstream dance music scene. "Come to Daddy" only ever got to Number 36 on the UK Singles Chart, while "Windowlicker" only ever got to Number 16. However, his next single, 1999's "Windowlicker," did make it to number 16. "Windowlicker" is a 6 minute long song with a slinky synth bass and sexual theming, and its video was controversial for its graphic content.
  • 00:30:00 The video discusses how Aphex Twin's use of grotesque facial images and music attracted controversy in the 1990s, but how his later albums, notably Syro, reflect his current interests in more cerebral electronica.
  • 00:35:00 In the 1990s, Aphex Twin became well-known for his electronic music, which was largely unheard of at the time. However, Notch, the creator of the popular game "Minecraft," discovered one of his records and purchased it for 40,000 dollars. This led to James's children telling their friends about his music, which was a pretty cool experience. Aphex Twin doesn't think about the impact of his earlier work too much, focusing instead on his own creativity. His new supporters on Patreon include Rae Payne, Rachel, Christopher Speaks, Joni Kontz, and Michael Briggs.

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