In some ways, Collapse sounds like the most Aphexian recording Aphex Twin has released since bursting back onto the scene with 2014's Syro. Since then, he's ventured down several different rabbit holes via EPs and limited releases, from the clinical experiments of Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments, Pt. 2 to the manic acid techno of Orphaned Deejay Selek: 2006-2008, not to mention the smorgasbord of glitches, rushes, and interstellar howls spread across a 90-minute cassette only available at the Fuji Rock Festival in 2017. As interesting as his post-comeback work has been, much of it has seemed like demos or works in progress, and it's often lacked the distinct personality which made Aphex's work stand out during the '90s. Collapse, however, is instantly, unmistakably recognizable as an Aphex release. Here, he returns to the ultra-glitchy beats and childlike melodies of releases like Hangable Auto Bulb and Richard D. James Album, while sounding miles away from them. "T69 collapse" begins the proceedings with rapidly fluttering beats over softly rippling notes and a slightly crooked bassline. After two minutes, it suddenly switches into a much darker mode, with the distorted kick drums heading towards gabber territory. The elastic percussion rolls and stutters, recalling the fluid beat structures of Second Woman, before reaching sonic overload. Yet after all of that, it doesn't end up sinking the rhythm or melody, which continue on their merry way. "1st 44" features shredded, scratched-up samples of old-school jungle over scrambled electro beats, referencing the past without sounding like a retro throwback. "MT1 t29r2" includes harp-like tones which recall Aphex's classic 1993 single "On," but this track is more fractured and hyperkinetic than angelic. Concluding track "pthex" (inexplicably left off the EP's vinyl issue) is another exhilarating blend of atmospheric pads and adrenalin-rush beats and glitches which threaten to overpower everything, but the track maintains it composure. Somewhat ironically titled, Collapse ends up being one of Aphex's stronger post-2000 releases.
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