Aphex Twin’s “CHEETAHT2 [Ld spectrum]” Is Mutant But Subtle

Richard D. James is a master of messing with perceptions. When the pioneering electronic producer released his first Aphex Twin album in 13 years, 2014’s Syro, the urge to celebrate made it easy to overlook the fact he hadn’t exactly retired during all that downtime. Since then, rather than follow immediately with another grand statement, he has kept up his ’00s pace, showcasing different sides of his music on various EPs and SoundCloud dumps.

The title of his latest, Cheetah, turned out to be a wonky pun, one that “CHEETAHT2 [Ld spectrum]” masterfully delivers from the start. This lumbering creature won’t chase down any antelopes; the Cheetah in question instead is a retro synth with a reputation for difficulty, and the synthesizers here have an appropriately queasy, mutant feel. The result, though, works seriously well, strutting along in a vaguely unwholesome way that surprisingly evokes not only ’80s goth-pop but also a genre that itself began as a joke: chillwave, y’all? Even when Aphex Twin is at his most restrained, he can’t seem to restrain himself.

Comments are closed.