Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix)
Come to Daddy (Little Lord Faulteroy Mix)
Bucephalus Bouncing Ball
To Cure a Weakling Child (Contour Regard)
Funny Little Man
Come to Daddy (Mummy Mix)
The year 1997 was electronic music’s global breakout moment. The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, and Fatboy Slim all released landmark albums, spreading UK rave—nearly a decade after those first all-nighters in muddy fields—to a stateside audience. Daft Punk dropped their first LP, inaugurating the French Touch; Moodymann made his album debut too, proving Detroit still had plenty of gas left in the tank.
And then there was Aphex Twin, whose Come to Daddy shredded every last page in the electronic rulebook. It tossed acid, jungle, and ambient house into a blender and hit “puree”; the album was by turns noisy, confrontational, gleefully tongue-in-cheek, and heartbreakingly beautiful. Savvy, too: At precisely the moment that once-“faceless” electronic music was generating genuine superstars, Richard D. James spoofed underground pieties and overground celebrity alike with an ingenious, Chris Cunningham-directed video for its title track that turned James and his leering visage into an unlikely icon—electronic music’s first real alternative hero.
James had been at it since 1991, entrancing ravers with hits like “Digeridoo” and expanding the possibilities of IDM (or as he called it, “braindance”) with 1995’s …I Care Because You Do and 1996’s Richard D. James Album. But rather than following up with a “mature” take on his sound, Come to Daddy threw down the gauntlet with the “Pappy Mix” of its title track, mashing up drum ’n’ bass breaks with industrial sonics and the refrain “I will eat your soul,” delivered with almost cartoonish malevolence.
Two additional mixes of the same song offer contrasting takes—one politer, one far weirder—but it’s the EP’s deep cuts that truly shine. The rubbery syncopations of “Bucephalus Bouncing Ball” remain among the best examples of James’ programming nous, polyrhythms bending and flexing like a Swiss wristwatch in an industrial vise; “Flim,” one of the sweetest songs in James’ catalog, dusts the frantic grooves of drill ’n’ bass with sunshine and powdered sugar. In 2011, Skrillex cited “Flim” as his favorite song of all time—proof of Come to Daddy’s continued power to surprise.