aphex twin's new election video is as weird as the election itself

The enigmatic electronic master teases his first U.S. show in nearly a decade with a bizarre new visual.

by Emily Manning and i-D Staff
07 November 2016, 10:40pm

Aphex Twin has truly returned. Earlier this year, the singular British musician (real name Richard James) released Cheetah, the follow-up EP to 2014's Syro — a 65-minute melodic explosion that marked his first full-length release since 2001. One of Cheetah's seven tracks, "CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]" even came with a music video, James's first in 17 years. In true Aphex Twin fashion, this video was directed by a 12-year-old Irish middle schooler, and looks as though it was filmed using an early version of iMac Photobooth. In December, James will play his first U.S. show in over eight years; today, he released a short visual promoting the show, and it's just as weird as you'd expect.

The video features distorted clips of presidential debates, Trump supporters, films, and surveillance-style graphics. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton appear with chopped-up faces, similar to the style found in the main Syro promo image. Aphex Twin has long been a fan of vaguely terrifying facial distortion: see the iconic music videos for "Come to Daddy" and "Windowlicker." Both candidates speak with pitched-up, chipmunky voices (which don't make Clinton's point about Trump's proximity to the nuclear codes any less scary).

The video also features footage of a popular Daily Show bit in which Trump supporters are asked the same ideological questions about American values Trump says he'd use to screen anyone coming into the country as part of his "extreme vetting program." The values that Trump outlines as cornerstones of American ideology — among them tolerance of religious freedom, tolerance of LGBTQ+ people, and respect for women — are apparently not ones his supporters share, although they believe they do. The Aphex Twin video samples one of the funnier/more depressing moments, in which a woman explains that the presidency is a man's job because women are more "hormonal" and could start a war in "ten seconds flat" because of "hot flashes." She is then reminded that almost every war in history has been started by a man.

The video — produced by Weirdcore —promotes Aphex Twin's headlining set at Day for Night festival in Houston, Texas. He's but one facet of a rather eclectic lineup that also includes Travis Scott, Butthole Surfers, and a DJ set by Björk as part of her traveling Björk Digital installation.

Day for Night takes place on December 17 and 18; the United States presidential election takes place tomorrow. Please, please participate in it.


Text Emily Manning

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