17. Aphex Twin, 'The Richard D. James Album' (Warp, 1996)
Warning: dancing to this album can cause headaches, temporary loss of appetite, blurred vision or swollen bladder; if symptoms persist, please put on a Jewel CD. Cornwall, England native Richard James is electronic music's great restless innovator, a prolific mad scientist blurring the lines between dance music, ambient and avant-garde composition, influencing a generation of "intelligent" dance music artists, as well as everything Radiohead did after OK Computer. His self-titled 1996 album might be the height of undanceable dance music, setting lush Victorian string arrangements and pastoral keyboard textures over brutally hard, quadruple-time breakbeats and toxic electro squelches. There’s loopy novelty (the slide-whistle driven "Logi/Rock Witch"), sonic terrorism ("Inkeys") and abstract whimsy ("Finger Rib"). The album's centerpiece, "Boy/Girl Song," combines all those things to sound like the world's meanest jungle DJ playing a tea party at Downton Abbey.
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