A Tangable Hullabaloo
Originally released a decade ago, Hangable Auto Bulb is a collection of two extremely rare 12″ EPs which were restricted to a few thousand copies each and gobbled up by a very lucky few. After the initial pressing of the EPs, one’s best bet to getting a hold of one of these jewels was if he/she’d be willing and able to drop a thousand plus on Ebay. Why the hefty price tag? Besides the album’s scarcity, perhaps it’s because of its creator, trailblazing drum ‘n’ bass virtuoso Richard D. James. Better known as Aphex Twin, he assumes the early sobriquet of AFX on this release.HAB is an incredible album exemplified by AFX’s controlled, obsessively compulsive electronic chaos. Like the immaculately frenzied beauty found in “Girl/Boy Song,” fluid, gorgeously synthesized melodies juxtapose turbulent barrages of drums (e.g. “Laughable Butane Bob,” “Every Day”), a contradiction that succeeds at frying one’s senses. Moreover, AFX’s sinister sense of playfulness is apparent on tracks such as “Children Talking” and “Arched Maid Via RDJ.” HAB is an important piece in RDJ’s discography, a footprint in history which would link I Care Because You Do and pave the way for the seminal Richard D. James album and Come to Daddy EP.
With the re-release of Hangable Auto Bulb (anagrammatically named after the Analogue Bubble Bath series), the general masses are now privy to material once only available to a select few. Like an instance of foreshadowing in a classic piece of literature, HAB provides a rare insight in what was to come from Aphex Twin and is a shining example of the groundbreaking “drill ‘n’ bass” sound he helped advance.