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RX-101 has quietly been making waves in the IDM/electronic music underground for the past few years, through a series of archival releases — material recorded in the late-90s, but previously unreleased until Suction Records began compiling and releasing these records in 2016. What’s truly mind-boggling about RX-101’s output is the sheer quantity of stunning, top-drawer material that Dutch producer Erik Jong recorded over the period of just 3 years, 1997-1999. Many have suggested that the whole thing is a publicity stunt — some insisting that this is all new material masquerading as vintage, while others have proposed that the material may in fact be a secret alias for Aphex Twin to release gems from his own legendary ’90s audio archive. RX-101 has absolutely nailed the sound, and quality, of early-90s AFX/Rephlex, that much is true. “Serenity,” this latest full-length RX-101 release, is no exception.
Just as RX-101’s last album, 2019’s Dopamine, concentrated on one hallmark of Aphex Twin’s sound — the smooth melodic techno of his Selected Ambient Works 1985-1992 LP — so too does Serenity reference another classic early-Aphex era, but this time it’s a completely different beast. Don't let the title fool you - Suction Records' latest dive into RX-101's 1997-1999 tape archives is not all lush, serene melodies. On Serenity, scorched, crunchy jackhammer beats combine with emotional, plaintive pads, delivering a classic set of vintage-Rephlex-style bliss, à la AFX, Caustic Window, and Cylob. It was Cylob who coined the term Industrial Folk Songs for his classic 1995 LP, and that release is clearly a blueprint for RX-101’s latest collection.
Standout cut Hearts Utd., featuring a stunning music video by Aidan Fantinatto and I Dream Of Wires’ director Robert Fantinatto, not only nails the magic of AFX’s trademark, irresistible jackhammer-beats-meets-plaintive-melody device, it arguably rivals the master at his own sound. As a whole, what could be a harsh and monotonous collection is lifted by RX-101’s subtle diversity and skill, particularly in his ability to create eerie, evocative moods, with gorgeous melodies that speak volumes of emotion.
The album contains 13 songs, available on 2LP vinyl in a thick-spine jacket + insert, CD digipack, or digital. The stunning army-green colour-vinyl edition is limited to 300 copies.
released February 14, 2020