Aphex Twin – “Girl / Boy” E.P.

5 out of 5

Produced by: Richard D. James

Label: Warp

The Richard D. James album is Aphex at his most pleasant and accessible, and The Girl / Boy song is a gorgeous cut off that disc, and probably one of James’ most surprisingly touching compositions.

So leading things off with that is already a great start, the strings and xylophone tones meshing so organically with smooth drum fills.  That this transitions to one of James’ most directly humorous and crass tracks – Milkman, his bid at making a pop song – is worth a smile, here and on the full album, but always more impressive is that its still a fun track, that pop beat and ridiculous chorus doing the job of getting stuck in your head.  The abrasive, AFX-y $inkey is an awesome inclusion, and a perfect juxtaposition to the softer beats of the lead-ins.  And its perfectly housed on an EP: its abrupt stops and starts smartly last only a minute and a half, which might be disruptive on a whole album but is the perfect kind of experimentation to toss on an extended play.  The first of two further G/B mixes follows, a grooving take on the beat perking up insanely for some James’ percussion madness, leading into Milk Man’s less crass but equally amusing partner, Beetles.  It’s childlike bleeps and bloops score a refrain concerning the titular creeper in the carpet.  The second G/B mix closes things out, sort of a short and sweet boppy version, very in line with a lot of Rephlex IDM from the era.

Many of these cuts stay below the two minute mark, possibly making the Girl / Boy EP a question of cost/benefit.  Bit every track is so damn catchy or dense – plus the highlight of the lead single – that its always remained a fairly consistent pick in my Twin playlist, and has no moment on it I’d spare or skip.