In 2001, when Aphex Twin fans got what they'd been hoping for -- a new album -- they soon learned that not every Aphex Twin work was pure genius. (Granted, they'd heard very little evidence of mediocrity before that point.) Drukqs was a rambling wreck of an album, a hodgepodge of material that appeared to have been plundered from at least three distinct periods, stretching over a full decade of Richard D. James' career. The Analord series of 12" singles, inaugurated with January 2005's Analord 10 and eventually including ten additional volumes, was much different. It proved that James was still capable of brilliance -- not just scattered brilliance, but consistently excellent and occasionally stupendous work. The Analord material was throwback acid techno that moved at a fast pace and showed evidence of a malevolent streak behind it, just like the Aphex commercial breakouts Come to Daddy and Windowlicker. Fortunately, while the Analord singles featured much in the way of melody and subtlety, they lacked the cartoonish imagery that marred those two EPs (particularly the vocals and the video clips). More so even than "Come to Daddy," the Analord material found Aphex Twin returning to the music of his early career; stylistically, it's the logical follow-up to James' Caustic Window and Analogue Bubblebath material of the very early '90s, which attempted to (and usually succeeded in) creating the freakiest techno ever produced, without either deserting a steady beat or straying into self-conscious experimentation. Whether embracing a novelty (he covered the early-'70s synth hit "Buttered Popcorn") or pursuing highly evocative techno (the forerunner of IDM), the Caustic Window material was some of the best work of his or any other producer's career. Just one caveat: Chosen Lords serves to compile a few highlights from the Analord series, but not all of them, and it includes less than 25 percent of the material; vinyl is still the way to hear those tracks, and this compilation is simply an introduction to the 11 separate 12" releases.
AllMusic Review by John Bush