Analogue Bubblebath

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Analogue Bubblebath
MIGHTY 001 Aphex label.jpg
EP by
ReleasedSeptember 1991[1]
LabelMighty Force
ProducerRichard D. James, Tom Middleton
Richard D. James chronology
Analogue Bubblebath
Analog Bubblebath Vol 2
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[2]

Analogue Bubblebath is the first release by ambient and techno musician Richard D. James. The EP was released in September 1991 by Mighty Force Records, under the alias The Aphex Twin.[1] It is the first release in what became the Analogue Bubblebath series. The initial pressing was 1000 copies, which sold out in less than a week; it was followed by further pressings of several thousand.[5][6]


Mark Darby, a promoter and owner of the Mighty Force record shop, had been given a C90 tape of James' music by Tom Middleton and was eager to release music from it. James was very reluctant to release a record on the label. Darby has stated that it took "about 3 months" to convince James to release it. James preferred to keep his music exclusively for playing at his performances, similar to the use of dubplates in sound system culture. Reportedly, James was only convinced to release a record at all because he was under the influence of acid at the time.[5]

The original record was mastered from the C90 tape onto a Betamax F1 tape. The initial pressing of 1000 copies was distributed by friends of Darby's, taking the record to record shops around London, and it quickly sold out. Further pressings of several thousand followed soon after.[5]


The music varies from Detroit-influenced ambient techno, to hardcore techno.[7][2][3] The track "Isopropophlex" uses samples from the arcade game Berzerk,[8] along with a flanged and filtered voice sample. The musician and producer Tom Middleton collaborated on "En Trance to Exit" under the pseudonym Schizophrenia.

The record went on to be hugely influential. Its title track was described as a "redrawing of ambient techno aesthetics" by Rolling Stone,[2], while critic Simon Reynolds suggested its "hazy-yet-crystalline production... announced a new softcore direction in techno — meditational, melodically-intricate and ambient-tinged".[3] James' friend and fellow producer Tom Middleton discussed how the track is "like pure emotion in sound",[9] while musician and DJ Ellen Allien called it "a classic tune by the best electronic producer in the world."[10] Influential publication Mixmag called it "one of the most perfect tracks ever written".[11] It is frequently cited as one of the best compositions in James' extensive discography.[12][13] In contrast to the ambient sound of "Analogue Bubblebath", the industrial, menacing sound of "Isopropophlex" has been described as "astringent" and suggestive of "a nasty corrosive fluid".[3]

The record created a buzz in the UK about Aphex Twin, and immediately won acclaim, quickly earning the artist a cult following.[14][15][3] It received airplay and was on the playlist of influential London radio station Kiss FM.[16] Critic Ira Robbins, writing in 1997, referred to its "aggressively sequenced dance rhythms [which] underpin the synthesized squonks, plonks and samples"[17]

The tracks "Analogue Bubblebath" and "Isopropophlex" can also be found on the R&S Records compilation Classics. The EP was reissued by TVT Records in the US in 1994, on both CD and 12" vinyl format. "Isopropophlex" appears in a longer form titled "Isopropanol", and "Analogue Bubblebath" is extended by a few seconds of additional ending, entitled "Analogue Bubblebath I".

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Analogue Bubblebath" – 4:41
  2. "Isopropophlex" – 5:20

Side two[edit]

  1. "En Trance to Exit" – 4:22
  2. "AFX 2" – 5:26


  1. ^ a b Darby, Mark. "Mark Darby / DJ". Alpha Radio. Archived from the original on 7 November 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The new Rolling Stone album guide (4th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 21. ISBN 9780743201698.
  3. ^ a b c d e Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash : a Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture (2nd ed.). London: Faber & Faber. p. 165-166. ISBN 9780571289141.
  4. ^ "Analogue Bubblebath". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Darby, Mark. "The Mighty Force from the Bubblebath to Fog City!". Record Collector (Interview). London: Diamond Publishing Ltd. Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  6. ^ Darby, Mark (December 2002). "Mighty Force Records History" (Interview). Archived from the original on 7 November 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  7. ^ Kirwan, Paul (October 1999). "The Record Buyer's Guide to The Aphex Twin" (PDF). Muzik. London: IPC Media. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 15 Nov 2019.
  8. ^ Upton, Ed. "Five Records: DMX Krew". FACT Magazine. The Vinyl Factory Group. Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  9. ^ Hobbs, Mary Anne (6 December 2005). "We Love Aphex". The Breezeblock. Event occurs at 39:48. BBC. Radio 1. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  10. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (4 April 2014). "Ellen Allien's favourite tracks". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  11. ^ Hinton, Patrick. "9 killer tracks from 9 Aphex Twin aliases". Mixmag. Wasted Talent Ltd. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  12. ^ Dayal, Geeta (28 February 2019). "Aphex Twin's best songs – ranked!". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019. 1. AFX – Analogue Bubblebath (1991)
  13. ^ "The 50 best Aphex Twin tracks of all time". FACT Magazine. The Vinyl Factory Group. Archived from the original on 4 July 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2019. 01. The Aphex Twin ‘Analogue Bubblebath’ (Mighty Force, 1991)
  14. ^ Strong, Martin (1998). The great rock discography (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 23. ISBN 9780862418274.
  15. ^ Barr, Tim (2000). Techno : the rough guide. London: Rough Guides Ltd. p. 13. ISBN 9781858284347.
  16. ^ Turenne, Martin (1 April 2003). "Aphex Twin The Contrarian". Exclaim!. Toronto: Exclaim! Media. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  17. ^ Robbins, Ira (1997). "Aphex Twin". The Trouser Press guide to '90s rock : the all-new fifth edition of The Trouser Press record guide (5th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 46. ISBN 9780684814377.