Update (5/30): Pitchfork has reported that, according to a press release, that the NTS website will stream “a bespoke online visual immersion” of Aphex Twin’s forthcoming Field Day set. The stream will be produced by Weirdcore, Aphex Twin’s visual collaborator. The cryptic web page, meanwhile, remains locked.
Update: In the quest to solve Aphex Twin’s NTS puzzle, a new clue has emerged. In a tweet linking again to the locked NTS webpage, this time with new graphics, the accompanying video displays the date “03.06.17” (June 3rd, 2017 in British English formatting). This seems to confirm the Aphex Twin subreddit users’ hunches we shared earlier—the hypothesis that this riddle is Field Day Festival-related. The sounds accompanying the video and site this time around appears to be new Aphex Twin recordings too, which might also suggest that new material is on the horizon.
The past few years almost seem to have seen more action from Warp Records’ resident man-of-mystery than that of the entire past decade.
Such a consistent outflow of music can seem like a privilege when considering Syro was the first Aphex Twin release since 2001’s Drukqs. Though this might seem like a dearth of inactivity, it’s more a reflection of Richard D. James, the brain behind Aphex Twin, and his penchant for syphoning his music to the public through a collection of alternate aliases.
In 2004, for example, James began quietly assembling the 11-part Analord 12″ series—a project that finally reached its resolution in 2009. In 2007, James attempted to conceal any trace of his prints for a pair of EPs released as The Tuss, until finally revealing its identity three years ago.
But scrambling the nametags attached to his work isn’t the only way Mr. James keeps his fans decoding messages like a gallery of trained cryptographers.
Electronic music sleuths found themselves busy code-cracking again this morning when a cryptic video was posted on Aphex Twin’s Twitter account with the terse caption of “SOON” offered as its sole clue.
Backed by an unrecognizably distorted vocal sample of the classic “Can You Feel It” by Chicago ‘house’ pioneer Mr. Fingers, the video features glitching renderings of the London-based NTS radio program logo and Aphex Twin logo warping into one another. The tweet links to a password-protected page of the NTS official website featuring the clip’s visuals accompanied by what appears to be a countdown timer, leading many to speculate that a NTS radio program hosted by Richard D. James is forthcoming.
The post was quickly dispensed to Reddit’s Aphex Twin subreddit, where commenters have analyzed the page source of the countdown timer and hypothesized that its programmed to end on June 3, the date of Aphex Twin’s scheduled Field Day Festival performance.
The current most upvoted comment on the post suggests that the festival performance will be livestreamed by NTS.
Live sets by Aphex Twin are hard to come by. So if the Reddit community’s discoveries are accurate, we recommend setting your own timer to catch what’s sure to be something you aren’t going to want to miss.