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Rephlexions (Rephlex)

Musicians who run their own record labels often fall prey to the trap of shamelessly promoting themselves instead of the artists they have signed; the Neptunes' recent Clones, for example, was ostensibly released to promote their protégés yet ended up dripping head-to-toe with appearances by Pharrell Williams. But England's maniacal electronic music producer Aphex Twin (a.k.a. Richard D. James) has sprinted in the other direction with his own label Rephlex, even though his musical input might really help sell its products to a wider audience.

And so Rephlexions, highlighting rare and overlooked songs from the label's catalog over the past twelve years, has only the briefest of contributions from Aphex Twin, right at the end: a remix of his "Mangle 11," which was previously available only as a promotional item. His songs tend to push the limits, with grating sounds that are often unpleasant. Several of Rephlex's acts, though, use a gentler, more listenable touch: the minute ambient detail of Leila's "A," Pierre Bastien's electro-trumpet fusion on "Avid Diva," Bochum Welt's liquid sound layers on "Radiopropulsive." This is something rare: a varied, original compilation curated by an intriguing star who hasn't handpicked carbon copies of himself.

 
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