Somnambule - Writing About Music

V/Vm ~ HelpAphexTwin4.0

V/Vm attempt to trump Richard James’ troll-like pranksterism by accusing him repeatedly of selling out, making crap music and patronising his audience. Said accusations are made:

HelpAphexTwin4.0 can’t help but spark a dialogue about James’ public image. Some of the reviews of 26 Mixes for Cash have contained an undertone of affront at his projected mercenariness (one even complained that he was not intellectual enough…) HelpAphexTwin4.0 condenses and hones this response into a scathing diatribe.

The album ends with the following lyric: ‘see you at the crossroads… what you going to do when judgement comes for you’. If this cd is a court of law, V/Vm have donned wig and gown and simultaneously sat in the jury box. The verdict is inevitable. The comprehensiveness of their sentence and the depth of their scorn makes the whole thing difficult to dismiss. The process takes on a wilfull grandeur all its own.

Alternatively, you might view the whole endeavour as a playground spat where the clever kid gets too big for his boots and is slapped down by the big boys (or the big kid gets slapped down by the clever kids depending on your point of view).

Some things are more powerful away from direct experience, once they come to reside in memory. Is the music on HelpAphexTwin4.0 interesting in its own right or does its value lie mainly in the gestural quality and dialogue it establishes? If you want an answer buy the cd and make your own mind up – at least that’s what I’d expect V/Vm to say (but wouldn’t that be a touch mercenary too?)

Colin Buttimer
May 2003
Published by the BBC