Richard D. James’ Hangable Auto Bulb was originally released in two parts on vinyl ten years ago, and the two EPs have since become collector’s items on the grounds of scarcity. The re-issue compiles both EP releases on CD only. Musically, if you’re a fan of James (and I very much am, though I can’t claim the encyclopedic knowledge of some), this is familiar territory. And what’s more, it makes an essential addition to any IDM fan’s extensive collection.
Idiosyncratic track (though that’s always a relative term when it comes to James) “Children Talking” discusses the relative merits of mashed potato, and would fit nicely on I Care Because You Do. Harder and faster “Hangable Auto bulb” is duck-lush drill and bass. “Laughable Butane Bob” sounds tragic-comic and surreptitiously populist, as the tag may imply. You can even hear bits of the Richard D James sound crawling and pulsating out of the speakers. “Bit” could be closer to earlier ambient works, but the jungle element skits uncomfortably under.
“Wabby Legs” starts to sound as lovely as landmark James calm-moments like “Goon Gumpas,” but I still wouldn’t turn your back. It evolves into something of ill-faith that could complement Chris Clark’s Ceramics Is the Bomb. “Every Day” is immediate, very danceable, and far too good to be a throw-away. “Arched Maid via RJD” pioneers the use of aged sample pieces. Hearing “get me another tie, get me another shirt, get me another woolen” like a mantra over the beats and keys is a weirdly profound experience.
This is the sound of a successful and highly influential template being re-molded and polished. It sounds unmistakably like the work of James. Definitely worth buying after you’ve got the albums below, and then some.
Aphex Twin- Richard D James
Aphex Twin- I Care Because You Do
Aphex Twin- Come To Daddy