y friend and I decided to start a band this year. It was our first year in college and everyone around us seemed to either be in a band or knew someone in a band. Many people that want to be in a band are sometimes stopped at the idea stage by the fact that they do not know how to play an instrument. Let me be the first to tell you that it is more than possible to start a band without this knowledge. With the aid of computers and the ease of use, our efforts this year have actually garnered us an amount of recognition and a possible record deal in the future. Our music usually has a lot to do with deconstructing the art that others have made and calling it our own. In listening to V/vm's remix efforts of various Aphex Twin songs on the Help Aphex Twin releases I have begun to suspect that they and my band are a lot alike.
In the IDM community if there has ever been a more sacred cow than Autechre, it is Aphex Twin. Releasing what is commonly considered to be some of the most seminal pieces in the 1990s of the "braindance" movement, the Twin has frequently been revered with many e-mails dissecting his every move appearing on the vaunted IDM list. It was almost perfectly nautural, then, that V/vm, the bastard stepson of Aphex Twin, should choose to remix him in two colored 3" CDs on the self-owned V/vm Test Records label. While the records are of a smaller size, the price was at a normal CD price at the store I bought it from, Safety in Numbers.
Beginning with the cover art of the CDs, V/vm has decided to cut up covers of various Aphex Twin album cover art and to patch it together into a collage. Anyone familiar with Aphex Twin releases knows that the cover art is usually a little disconcerting but V/vm has taken it to another level with this technique. The faces are distorted and disembodied. Each cover has an amalgamation of the various covers featuring the Twin's face that have appeared on his latest releases.
The music is reminiscent of the collage technique used in the cover art. The tracks have not been remixed as much as they have been distorted through numerous filters. They are still recognizable Aphex tunes but it seems as though V/vm has run the track through Cool Edit scientific filters to distort the tracks and keep them off-balance from their original form. It also sounds as though Aphex has not given them individual tracks to work with and that the group has merely taken the original track and worked from there. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to hear that Richard D. James had not approved of the remixes beforehand and had not heard about the releases until their release date.
V/vm take on all the usual suspects: "Windowlicker," "Come to Daddy," and "Bucephalus Bouncing Ball" are all represented here. The highlight of the two CDs has to be the remix of Ventolin which makes the original's high pitched background tone sound like a Debussy piano piece. Making that particular sound more annoying than its original incarnation was a remarkable feat, but doesn't save this release from merely being a curiousity that is better left heard about than actually heard. Unfortunately this sound was the only one in the two fifteen minute CDs where I was shocked or amazed at the music.
The idea was interesting: remix the most sacred of all IDM stars. The execution was less than interesting and merely serves to remind the listener that they could be doing the same at home on their own personal computer, if they put their mind to it. V/vm's release Help Aphex Twin Volume 1 and 2 have a subtitle for each. Volume One's is "We don't give a shit..." Volume Two's is "...Because you don't give a fuck." It's quite obvious to me after listening to this that V/vm don't give a shit. After careful reflection I've also decided that I don't give a shit...about their future releases.