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Drukqs (Front Cover).png
Studio album by
Released22 October 2001 (2001-10-22)
ProducerAphex Twin
Richard D. James chronology
2 Remixes by AFX
26 Mixes for Cash
Aphex Twin album chronology
Richard D. James Album
26 Mixes for Cash

Drukqs (stylised as drukQs) is the fifth studio album by Aphex Twin, the alias of British electronic musician Richard D. James, released in 2001 on Warp. It is a double album alternating primarily between tracks of meticulously programmed drum and bass-inspired beats and computer-controlled classical piano pieces.[4][7] It features the piano composition "Avril 14th," one of James's best-known recordings.[8]

Drukqs was released to a divided reception, with many critics dismissing it as inferior to his earlier works.[9] The album peaked at number 22 on the UK Albums Chart.[10] James would not release another album under the alias Aphex Twin until Syro (2014).


James decided to release Drukqs primarily to circumvent a potential leak after he accidentally left behind an MP3 player containing 180 of his unreleased tracks on a plane while traveling to Scotland with Rephlex co-founder Grant Wilson-Claridge: "I thought, 'They're gonna fucking come on the internet sooner or later so I may as well get an album out of it first.'"[7] He intended it to be his final release as part of his contractual obligation to Warp.[11] About the album's two-disc length, James said "the way I listen to music now is that I buy a CD, put it on the computer and just take the tracks I want anyway. I’d hope that people would do the same with this CD."[11]

Many track names are written in Cornish—for example, "Jynweythek" ("Machine")—or are coded titles.[12] James has stated that the title is not related to drugs, and is "just a word [he] made up"; he added "I never wanted to big up any drugs, because I don't reckon they deserve it."[12]


Drukqs contains tracks dating back "seven or eight years", according to James, though most of the album was relatively new.[11] The LP is a double album featuring roughly two styles: rapid, meticulously-programmed tracks utilizing exaggerated drum 'n' bass breakbeats,[3] and classical piano pieces[4] made using computer-controlled instruments such as a modified Yamaha Disklavier and several MIDI-controlled, solenoid-based drum mechanisms made by James.[13] Keymag described it as "switching restlessly from his most acidic drill 'n' bass yet to incredibly lavish prepared piano pieces inspired by John Cage."[1] NME noted that the album moves through techno, drum 'n' bass, and early-90s rave, while the piano interludes were compared to the work of Erik Satie.[4] Pitchfork also noted "several purely electro-acoustic excursions".[14]

James said that "A lot of [the tracks] are quite old-style sounding, I reckon. I’ve done loads of tracks which are really new in style and which don’t sound like anything else but I didn’t want to release those tracks."[11] While acknowledging similarities with his past records, James said that "I haven’t done something in so much detail before."[11] Of the album's complex drum programming, he said "it's quite similar to guitar solos, only with programming you have to use your brain. The most important thing is that it should have some emotional effect on me, rather than just, 'Oh, that's really clever.'"[12]

In 2015, James released the EP Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2, featuring further computer-controlled instrumental tracks, as a sequel to Drukqs.[13]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Alternative Press8/10[17]
The Guardian[18]
Los Angeles Times[19]
Rolling Stone[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[9]

Drukqs is among James's "most divisive" releases, with Oli Warwick of Crack Magazine noting that it provoked "widespread indignation amongst music critics, whose primary criticism seemed to be that James had delivered something reminiscent of previous releases, rather than some bold new mode of electronic expression."[21] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 66, based on 21 reviews.[15]

On its 2001 release Alex Needham of NME called it "beautiful" and "bulging with goodies".[4] For Spin however, Simon Reynolds criticised the album as "unimpressive" and "trapped by the potential for infinitesimal tweakage," stating that it "sounds merely like a slight extension of the Aphex sound circa 1996's Richard D. James Album and 1997's Come to Daddy."[3] Pitchfork described the album's "drill'n'bass" tracks as "throwbacks to the past rather than prospects on the future; and for all of their compositional strength, there's an element of the Aphex Twin mystique missing."[14] Dave Simpson of The Guardian stated that "much of Drukqs sounds like weaker echoes of things Aphex Twin has done before, which no manner of hyperactive drum machines or daft titles can disguise."[18] Pat Blashill of Rolling Stone called Drukqs Aphex's "most irrelevant album to date", and added "rumor has it that James merely loaded this record with outtakes that have been eating up space on his hard drive for years, then released the album as a deal-breaker with his label, Warp."[5] However, in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), critic Sasha Frere-Jones stated that "weirdly dismissed by many, Drukqs is often spectacular".[9]

The piano composition "Avril 14th" became one of James's most popular tracks, later being used in films, a Saturday Night Live skit, and the Kanye West song "Blame Game."[8] As of April 2017, the track was James's most streamed track on Spotify, with approximately 124 million streams. By this metric, it is his best-known composition.[8]

Track listing[edit]


All songs composed by Richard D. James.

Disc one
3."Kladfvgbung Micshk"2:06
5."Strotha Tynhe"2:12
6."Gwely Mernans"5:08
9."Avril 14th"2:05
10."Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michaels Mount"8:10
12."Orban Eq Trx 4"1:35
14."Hy a Scullyas Lyf Adhagrow"2:14
15."Kesson Dalef"1:21
Total length:51:47
Disc two
1."54 Cymru Beats"6:06
4."QKThr" (also known as "Penty Harmonium")1:27
5."Meltphace 6"6:24
6."Bit 4"0:25
7."Prep Gwarlek 3b"1:19
9."Taking Control"7:14
10."Petiatil Cx Htdui"2:11
11."Ruglen Holon"1:49
12."Afx237 v.7"4:23
13."Ziggomatic 17"8:35
Total length:48:54
aphextwin.warp.net exclusive tracks (2018)
31."dRuQks Prepared uN 1"3:01
32."avril 14th half speed alternative version [re-recorded 2009 Nagra]"5:07
33."avril 14th reversed music not audio [re-recorded 2009 Nagra]"2:12
34."Mangle 11"5:55


Side one
1."Jynweythek Ylow"2:14
3."Kladfvgbung Micshk"2:00
4."Strotha Tynhe"2:03
Total length:10:59
Side two
1."Omgyjya Switch7"4:46
2."Gwely Mernans"5:00
Total length:9:46
Side three
3."Orban Eq Trx 4"1:27
Total length:9:05
Side four
1."Mt Saint Michel Mix + St Michaels Mount"8:02
Total length:10:00
Side five
2."Hy a Scullyas Lyf A Dhagrow"2:09
3."Kesson Daslef"1:18
4."Avril 14th"1:55
Total length:12:07
Side six
1."54 Cymru Beats"6:00
4."Penty Harmonium"1:20
5."Prep Gwarlek 3b"1:13
7."Petiatil Cx Htdui"2:05
Total length:13:55
Side seven
1."Meltphace 6"6:14
3."Taking Control"7:08
4."Ruglen Holon"1:45
Total length:15:25
Side eight
1."Afx237 v7"4:15
2."Ziggomatic v17"8:28
Total length:16:05


  • An alternate version of Avril 14th (known as "avril altdelay") was uploaded to James' SoundCloud in 2014.
  • Another version of Avril 14th titled "avril 14th doubletempo,half speed" was added as Track 34 on 3 December 2018, but it was removed after some hours.
  • Mangle 11 was previously released on the Rephlexions! An Album of Braindance! compilation as "Mangle 11 (Circuit Bent V.I.P. Mix)" by AFX.


Aphex Twin – piano, synthesizers, keyboards, harmonium, percussion, programming, treatments, sampler, photographs


Chart (2001) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[22] 87
French Albums (SNEP)[23] 43
Irish Albums (IRMA)[24] 14
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[25] 36
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[26] 47
UK Albums (OCC)[27] 22
US Billboard 200[28] 154
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[29] 6


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] Silver 60,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b MCGillevray, Becky. "The Soft Side of Aphex Twin". KEYMAG. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Seymour III, Malcolm. "Aphex Twin – Drukqs". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Reynolds, Simon (November 2001). "Aphex Twin: Drukqs". Spin. 17 (11): 130–32. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Needham, Alex (20 October 2001). "Aphex Twin : Drukqs". NME. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Blashill, Pat (8 November 2001). "Aphex Twin: Drukgs". Rolling Stone. No. 881. Archived from the original on 11 November 2001. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  6. ^ Ducker, Eric. "The Long Tail of Aphex Twin's 'Avril 14th'". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  7. ^ a b O'Connell, John (2001). "Interview". The Face. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "How Aphex Twin's piano lullaby 'Avril 14th' became a runaway pop culture hit". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 14 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Frere-Jones, Sasha (2004). "Aphex Twin". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 21–23. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Pakinkis, Tom (29 September 2014). "Official Charts Analysis: alt-J's This Is All Yours secures No 1 album slot on 30,947 sales". Music Week. Intent Media. Retrieved 29 September 2014. (subscription required)
  11. ^ a b c d e Hoffmann, Heiko. "Aphex Twin Interview" (PDF). Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  12. ^ a b c Lester, Paul (5 October 2001). "Tank boy". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  13. ^ a b aphextwin (February 2015). "Diskhat ALL Prepared1mixed [snr2mix]". SoundCloud. SoundCloud. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  14. ^ a b c Seymour, Malcolm III (25 October 2001). "Aphex Twin: Drukqs". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Reviews for Drukqs by Aphex Twin". Metacritic. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  16. ^ Bush, John. "Drukqs – Aphex Twin". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  17. ^ "Aphex Twin: Drukqs". Alternative Press (161): 78. December 2001.
  18. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (19 October 2001). "Aphex Twin: Drukqs (Warp)". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  19. ^ Baltin, Steve (16 December 2001). "Aphex Twin 'Drukqs' Warp/Sire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  20. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (November 2001). "Aphex Twin: Drukqs". Q (183).
  21. ^ Warwick, Oli. "In celebration of Drukqs, Aphex Twin's most divisive and misunderstood statement". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  22. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 22 October 2001" (PDF) (608). Australian Recording Industry Association. Australian Web Archive. 22 October 2001. Archived from the original on 20 February 2002. Retrieved 7 July 2016. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – Aphex Twin – Drukqs". Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  24. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 43, 2001". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  25. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Aphex Twin – Drukqs". Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Aphex Twin – Drukqs". Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  27. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  28. ^ "Aphex Twin Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  29. ^ "Aphex Twin Chart History (Top Dance/Electronic Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  30. ^ "British album certifications – Aphex Twin – Drukqs". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 13 February 2021.

External links[edit]