Dopamine by RX-101
More Aphex-inspired, satisfyingly sad sounding vibes
The story behind Dutch musician Erik Jong is a fascinating one. Using analogue hardware he started making Electronic music in the mid-90s, soaking up all the Warp, Skam and Rephlex vibes prevalent at the time, producing prolifically for a few years but never releasing anything... only to disappear around 1999. Then, courtesy of US label Suction Records, seventeen years later, his music turned up as a compilation called Like Yesterday, thirteen quality tracks immediately recognised as a fine, long-lost treasure, fearlessly announced his prodigal prowess to the world, some even mistaking it as the work of one Richard D James. Another well-received Transmission, followed in 2017 before, saving the best to last, Dopamine a third, cohesive album of Techno, IDM, Acid and Electro, was hand-picked from his vast archives.
Dopamine is the name for the chemical in the brain responsible for controlling the movements a person makes, and in this case we're referring to an emotional response to musical input, i.e. Braindance. And while the music certainly provokes memories of that bygone era, the pleasant wash of nostalgia enchants more than derides. It's worth remembering that RX-101 is a Braindance contemporary and shouldn't mistakenly be lumped in with the likes of Mikron, Bjarki or EOD (who are producing their own fresh, Braindance-inspired magic).
Trading in a range of moods from the upbeat to the melancholic, on many tracks like Those Friday Evenings... or Docking it's difficult to see past Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works 85–92 but there's still enough innovation and invention from Jong that suggests he may have made his mark had he pursued record label backing at the time. Check out the bassline on Warm Electronics Box or the main melody on Search Path 101 for some satisfyingly sad sounding, earwormy vibes. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, tracks like Floating Waves and Atlas Booster experiment successfully with tension and rugged rhythms. Another fine collection.