Big news for Aphex-spotters: that rogue MP3 player has, it appears, finally surfaced.
2001’s oft-maligned Drukqs isn’t exactly anybody’s favourite Richard D. James album, and stories have long circulated about the circumstances behind the record’s troubled release. In a 2004 interview, James claimed that Drukqs had been rush-released after he left an MP3 player on a plane containing all of the album’s 30 tracks, plus hundreds of extra unreleased recordings.
Fans have long speculated that these lost pieces – often thought to be ambient tracks recorded throughout the 1990s – constitute a de facto third instalment in James’ classic Selected Ambient Works series. As with so many self-perpetuated Aphex rumours – of which there are many – it’s always been easier to assume that the story was apocryphal. No more wishful thinking required, it seems: said MP3 player appears to have finally turned up.
In the early hours of this morning, Soundcloud user quetzalcoatl101 uploaded a track to his account, credited to Aphex Twin. The accompanying blurb suggests that the MP3 player was originally picked up in a Spanish lost property office, and then duly discovered during a house clean-out:
My girlfriend and i moved house a few weeks ago – her brother had worked in the lost property at Barcelonna [sic] Airport years ago, and were looking through a box of his old things when I found a MP3 player. Huge Aphex fan, so when I saw ‘gwely mernans”, ‘maltphace 6’ and other drukqs tracks on it, started to wonder… Sent an email to a very nice (and very surprised!!) rephlex and have passed on the player. There are 236 tracks on there. Up to them to release, but some things are too beatiful to keep to yourself :-)
Rephlex have confirmed by email to FACT that a fan has been in touch, and that the track in question is definitely an Aphex original, although they’ve yet to explicitly confirm the lost MP3 player story.
No word as yet whether these tracks will have any sort of official release – indeed, if Aphex has been sitting on the masters for 15 years, we can’t imagine them appearing any time soon – but it’s great to hear nonetheless that the MP3 player has, finally, come back to Daddy. Click above to stream ‘Avril 1st’.
The first instalment in the Selected Ambient Works trilogy featured very, very high in our rundown of the best albums of the 1990s. For a full guide to the Aphex discography, check our rundown of the 50 best Aphex Twin tracks.