Outside / Aphex Twinupdate: aurgasm informs me that the reason I can't find this CD (or even the song on a compilation) is that it's not, in fact, by Aphex Twin. I've changed the file name and the link below but left the rest of the entry as it's 2:00 a.m.; I have class tomorrow and no time to research Outside, whom I know nothing about; and I'd like to leave this bit of evidence to show both the strength & weakness of internet research. Anyway, thanks a million to aurgasm for solving that--it's been puzzling me for a few years now.
Outside -- To Forgive But Not Forget
Aphex Twin is the stage name for Richard D. James, a British electronic musician who began making a name for himself in the 1980s. His work ranges from acid techno to symphonic works with little discernible beat at all; his biggest hit was probably "windowlicker," whose video featured a number of women in bikinis, dancing with grotesquely distorted faces, James himself driving around with a computer-distorted mug. The music was good: weird, fun, and danceable, as are his remixes of various video game soundtracks such as "Power-pill Pac-Man" and "Tetris." That he can make such catchy tunes makes it all the more confounding when he releases albums so experimental that it's hard to find a footing to approach them from--but, obviously, musicians do the most inspired work pursuing whatever they find most interesting.
James is inclined to jettison anything about music he takes a mind to, including melody and rhythm or, in his remixes, everything about the original song. (His 26 Mixes for Cash famously included remixes of Nine Inch Nails songs that he had never heard; James couldn't resist adding that he didn't want to hear them, either). The man strikes me as nihilistic and pissed--in the American sense--very talented but also blunt to the point of unkindness.
So here's a slice of warm, friendly musical brilliance. I got this song on a strange but interesting mix CD a friend made me; apparently the album it's from (Mix) is out of print. Amazon.com doesn't have it; allmusic.com hasn't heard of it; discogs.com hasn't either.
The track starts off melodic and unchallenging: a violin solo that must have been recorded in some empty high-ceilinged room, and is soon joined by programmed drums and a bass. Towards the end, it breaks down into a frantic mess that at first struck me as jarring and later struck me as perfect. The least you can say about the man's work is that it's consistently provocative.
Sure enough, you can also find it as track 3 on 4th & Byway (island records)'s Rebirth of Cool Four, as "To Forgive But Not To Forget" by Outside.
to add to the mystery the rebirth of cool i had was volume 6, not 4, but according to these sites vol 4 and 6 are the same! i'm guessing the difference is uk vs. us release. but still kinda strange.