THROWBACK THURSDAY: Aphex Twin – Polynomial-C [June 1992]
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you will know that IDM maverick Aphex Twin, aka Richard D James, is releasing a new EP, Collapse, in the coming weeks.
The opening track, T69 Collapse, is already doing the rounds on YouTube, having reportedly been pulled from a TV launch on Adult Swim earlier this week due to the potential sensitivity to photo-epilepsy sufferers (oh, Richard!).
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we go back to the summer of 1992, when the then-20 year old James released the seminal Xylem Tube EP, featuring one of the most melodic, yet tough-as-nails tracks of the early 90s, Polynomial-C.
Released on Dutch label R&S, Polynomial-C takes its name from a mathematical function that can be applied to chemistry, physics, economics and any number of social sciences, and, with that in mind, the track weaves between breakbeat, ambient, trance and techno, across a blissful four minutes and forty-four seconds.
It’s considered such a classic that when Maceo Plex issued a techno remix of the track in 2013, he was forced to include a disclaimer on Soundcloud alongside it, for fear of the social media backlash: “Dear haters, this is not a remix, it’s an edit, and the intention is to make it possible for a DJ to play Aphex’s beautiful classic in a modern techno set.”
For us, the track’s ethereal, blissful soundscape is best summed up in this review by Discogs user zykotik, who puts it plain and simple: “Polynomial-C is simply one of the greatest tracks ever written. From the moment it starts the hairs on the back of my neck stand up on end. It completely absorbs you.”
Some 26 years and countless Aphex releases later, it has lost none of its lustre.
[Kudos to Aphex Twin and thelostreef for the YouTube uploads]