I’m surprised I haven’t yet mentioned Mr. Richard.D.James (a.k.a The Aphex Twin) – although I do have to say that he is my major influence as far as composition and musical experimentation goes – his music is lightyears ahead of his time. For instance, I recently went back to listen to his Richard .D.James album, which was released in 1996, and it still sounds as fresh and original as the day it was released.
I saw him perform at the Finsbury Park Essential Festival in 1998, when he performed his tracks from inside a child’s playhouse with giant fluorescent bears featuring his face. This still stands out for a moment in time for me which changed the way I perceive music. In my opinion he is a musical genius up there with Mozart and other greats.
Since 1998, I had the opportunity to see him once more in 2000, London, he doesn’t play live very often, and even when he does, it’s not promoted widely. He also works under other pseudonyms (e.g. AFX, Goon Gumpas, etc), which makes tracking down his concerts even harder.
The most recent concert that caught my attention was the Aphex Twins remote orchestra in London. I would have liked to attend this but sadly couldn’t make it. The concept was control the orchestra much like a synth and use various parameters to create the music, even more interesting is the idea of creating a doppler effect on the piano, but quite literally hanging a grand piano from the roof and swinging it backwards and forwards. Their is a short introduction thanks to Vice magazine and the creators project below, the whole concert can also be found on YouTube.
This concept reminded me very much of the Tim Exile (also on Warp records) concert I attended at the Sonar festival in Barcelona a couple of years ago. He created his music by using a looper to create the rhythms and sounds from his mouth and then used a number of joysticks to manipulate a robot string quartet. A real sight to behold, unfortunately I have no pictures of this, and sadly cannot find any out there. If someone else has a copy, please let me know, I would love to watch it again.