June 25th 2007
The Tuss- Confederation Trough EP Review
Every shop I have toured that actually stocks this disc does so in the Aphex Twin section. So in some ways I feel validated about what I believe to have been a rather obvious assertion that The Tuss is Richard D James, although there are certainly differences between Rushup Edge and previous releases. Particularly, Rushup Edge seems more suited for the mainstream dance floor. Rushup I Bank 12 best exemplifies this with urban beats programmed through an analog keyboard. The snare snap and handclaps from Sythacon 9 are very reminiscent of the talent show finale as performed by the Revenge of the Nerds crew.
As the album begins, there is a definite attempt to mask some of the more blatant Aphex attributes. However, as it progresses Richard D James betrays himself- signature Aphex Twin modulations become more explicit. Death Fuck borrows heavily from or was conceived in the same creative moment as Bucephalus Bouncing Ball from the Come to Daddy EP. The album itself leads the listener back to Aphex Twin. So with the mystery discarded, The Tuss can be reviewed in context.
As a whole Rushup Edge has a gritty-retro aesthetic. Rather than a modern speculation about what futuristic music might be, Rushup Edge sounds like a replication of what movie scorers from the mid-eighties might have thought music of the future would sound like. I am shuttled back to Double Dragon or Jean-Claude’s Double Impact. But I am done so with the master sequencing of Richard D James. His ability to program chaotic chains of snaps and pauses, drill beats and ethereal synth melodies, is unmatched and unique. It is Richard D James’ individuality that makes even his rare missteps enjoyable, absorbable, and listenable.
Oddly enough, it is with The Tuss that he credits not himself, but a group of people for the sounds engineered. Make no mistake, the official line for The Tuss does not suggest that James is the primary music maker and that the rest of the crew play an auxiliary role. Brian and Karen Tregaskin are the official beat layers. They are the success story of Rephlex records. They are a hoax.
If you enjoyed Come to Daddy and Drukqs, then Rushup Edge will be a welcome addition to your menagerie. Fracturing credit for this high energy effort does not diminish its individuality or tear asunder its uniqueness. Simply put, Richard D James has made an artful, quirky, and well timed record that constructs a distinct environment for the listener. The Tuss comes to market with accessibility and originality.
The dubious nature of the as of yet unseen band, begs the question of why this role playing was done in the first place? I was, and to an extent still am, excited about the buzz surrounding the identity of The Tuss, but with other internet hoaxes designed to increase interest in music of other bands popping up, I feel a little bored. All the same, I am bugging to get the Confederation Trough EP.
I think it is interesting that the last two Aphex Twin records were released as Analord and Chosen Lords and that Aphex’s next release would be under the pseudonym The Tuss, which produced an album called Rushup Edge, named after a ridge in the Derbyshire Peak district in England. The highest point of Rushup Edge is Lord’s Seat.
Also From The Tuss
Confederation Trough EP
Other Records as Other People
Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992)
Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1994)
I Care Because You Do (1995)
Richard D. James (1996)
Come to Daddy (1997)
Analord 10 (2005)
Chosen Lords (2006)
Analogue Bubblebath (1991)
Analogue Bubblebath 2 (1991)
Analogue Bubblebath 3 (1993)
Analogue Bubblebath 4 (1994)
Hangable Auto Bulb (1995)
Analogue Bubblebath 3.1 (1997)
As Polygon Window
Surfing on Sine Waves (1993)