Mike & Rich

Expert Knob Twiddlers

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The two most popular artists to record for Britain's Rephlex label -- label-founder Richard D. James (Aphex Twin) and Michael Paradinas (µ-Ziq) -- collaborated in 1996 for Expert Knob Twiddlers. Recalling the great Milton Bradley game boxes of the 1970s and '80s, the cover is a picture of James and Paradinas, in suitable low-res, chop-and-paste photos, playing a variant of Connect Four. Inside, the two techno auteurs' music mesh quite well; Paradinas' liquidy funk distortion smoothes out the calculated, almost sterile, experimentation of Aphex Twin. The style-blending, however, cancels out the particular attractions of both artists, and the listener is left with a somewhat bland album. Fans of Aphex and µ-Ziq will be excited, but newcomers should go elsewhere before they dig this deep.

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