Saturday, September 29, 2007

Aphex Twin’s ‘Acrid Avid Jam Shred’

Aphex Twin’s ‘Acrid Avid Jam Shred’* begins with a heavy bass-bomb sequence; as sonic layers pile in and interact they engender a percussive phenomenology of ecstasis, or undecidability of the overall dominance amongst many layers of rhythm and harmonics. This ‘dominance’ reveals itself as the ephemeral focus of my attention-structure on a particular layer or mixture (the dynamic experience of ‘groove’). Gradually, ‘Acrid’s’ seven or eight layers reach crescendo, followed by various deconstructions, solos, and inter-mixes of polyrhythm. It might seem that each percussive ‘track’ is phenomenologically a kind of rail involving speed and motion, because of the pleasurable dips being felt in my spine each time grooves do oscillate. When I realize that groove has switched rails, it is not only a rhythm track; my very attention structure has switched focus, perhaps onto melodic counterpoints or the slower bass-bomb patterns. Is there some existential meaning of this strange poignance when a strictly rhythmic motif infuses with the trope of ecstasis – an entirely new, vast space-time designed by the Mind accustomed to postmodern economies of speed, while utterly transcendent of any conventional ‘dance’ beat psychology?
(*07:38, I Care If You Do, 1995)

1 comment:

Daemian said...

If we called this 'polyrhythmic ecstasis', and consider its relations with African polyrhythms - i.e., more generally with tribal consciousness technology - it would seem to uncannily confirm McLuhan's augury of neotribalism in the electric age.