Alarm Will Sound Acoustica

This disc is a self-described "painstaking recreation and rethinking” of Aphex Twin compositions by a 20-piece new music orchestra. First off, the point isn’t to make electronics sound more human or vice versa — like any modern orchestra, its goal is to translate a highly detailed written score into an appropriate arrangement for the players. The process would be the same if this were Stockhausen, although I’m sure Karlheinz wasn’t as caught up in the timbre of his snare drums. Secondly, though this project may be acoustic, it’s no less plastic than any other studio project. The acoustic parts include homemade noisemakers, which have to be mic-ed just so and mixed with complex EQ and panning, just like any electronic ingredients in the recording process. An arrangement like "Blue Calx” clearly benefits from all of the above. Richard D. James’s music clearly stands up to this kind of reinterpretation — but is the orchestra up to playing it? "Cock/Ver 10” is the best realised outing, with clever simulations of delay; they’ve done a terrific job of finding sounds that evoke the originals. At times the orchestra struggles to keep on top of the kit playing, which makes the tracks that break out of the sometimes-oppressively rigid 4/4 rhythms the most successful. Alarm Will Sound have more than proven James’s worth as a composer, but they’re not totally on point with the execution. (Cantaloupe)