Aphex Twin

Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments, Pt. 2

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A 13-track, 27-minute EP, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments, Pt. 2 trailed Syro by only four months. As revealed by its descriptive title, it's rather different, with drums and keys figuring prominently in a series of pieces that approximate stiff warm-ups and jam sessions from a synthesized combo gunning for a Kranky contract or the opening slot on a Squarepusher x Z-Machines tour. "diskhat ALL preparedlmixed 13" starts the EP in promising fashion with halting riffs, intricate layering, and vibrant, ricocheting percussion. Following track "snar2" is merely a snare roll that drifts between the left and right channels. What follows tends to fall closer to the latter than the former: skeletal sketches that consist of only drums or piano, plain configurations of both instruments, all mechanical noodling. Nothing is particularly energizing, though go-go freaks might catch themselves chanting, perhaps sarcastically, "Drop the bomb!" at some point during the frisky half-minute of "0035 1-Audio." Jocularly titled, the EP should be approached like a sequel -- with low expectations. Had this arid content preceded Syro, a fair portion of James' fan base would have likely written him off.

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