The Steinvord Conundrum

Steinvord – Steinvord EP

On Friday, I spent most of the day listening to this recently acquired five track EP on the Rephlex label featuring a fine collection of breathtakingly complex Amen break manipulations flecked with eye-wateringly fierce 303 squiggles. After several plays, I decided to try and find out just who this Steinvord chap is and immediately found hundreds of posts across dozens of message boards discussing this very subject. After five minutes of browsing, it became clear that no one actually knew the true identity of Steinvord, he would have to remain a mystery. The general consensus of opinion however broadly fell into two camps; that this was the work of Mr Richard D. James (The Aphex Twin himself) or a collaboration between the aforementioned Mr James and Mr Tom Jenkinson (The Squarepusher). It would seem that, in the absence of a new Aphex album, almost everything put out on Rephlex these days has to be RDJ in disguise.

This kind of conjecture is rather amusing to read as some poor listeners struggle with the horror of knowing that the Aphex Twin discography in their iTunes library can never be correctly labelled without such information. Others take an altogether more analytical approach and point to minute sonic clues as proof of their creator’s identity. As for me, I can honestly say that this is a sterling release irrespective of who’s behind it. Yes, it picks up many of it’s reference points from the previous work of James and Jenkinson but it’s hard not to make such parallels given how incredibly influential they’ve both been.

And so I found myself in a bit of quandary, how to sum up a release like this in a slightly more hermetic manner than merely presenting a list of it’s obvious influences. I needed the opinion of someone who wasn’t as familiar with the Aphex Twin or Squarepusher back catalogues as myself and so I decided to play it to Junior Unsubscriber to see what she made of it all. After a short while, she said that it was “good… and weird too”. When I asked her what she meant by weird, she explained “well, I just don’t know what’s going to happen next.” Finally, after a few more moments of intent listening she said “I like the drums, they’re sharp.”

So there you have it, I think that I’ll play her a few tracks from the new My Bloody Valentine LP later in the week and see if she avoids all the lazy comparisons to Loveless.

Steinvord EP

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