Simon Farintosh was named one of CBC’s ‘30 Under 30 Classical Musicians’ in 2023
APHEX TWIN FOR GUITAR
Going classical with electronica
On Aphex Twin for Guitar, rising Canadian classical guitarist Simon Farintosh presents six artful interpretations of songs by British electronica/techno/ambient star Richard D. James. Victoria, BC-born Farintosh’s versions are brief and beautiful solo acoustic renderings of music designed for an entirely different genre. James is a revered and idiosyncratic composer who performs under numerous pseudonyms including Aphex Twin for which he’s best known.
“I’ve approached each of these songs as a jazz musician would approach transcribing an improvised solo, notating every pitch and rhythm exactly as it appears in the original recording.” Farintosh tells Disquiet.com‘s Marc Weidenbaum.
“Arranging electronic music for guitar is similar to arranging orchestral music, as there are so many moving parts and subtleties within the textures. In reducing this music to a single acoustic instrument, I hoped to illuminate its compositional brilliance.”
Richard D. James – best known as Aphex Twin – has also recorded under a variety of pseudonyms including AFX, Bradley Strider, Caustic Window, GAK, The Dice Man, Polygon Window, Power-Pill, and The Tuss
Aphex Twin: “…the most celebrated and influential electronic musician of all time”
Farintosh stands in a long line of musicians and critics holding high regard for Aphex Twin’s work over the more than 30 years he’s been recording. Allmusic.com’s John Bush says James is “far and away one of the most celebrated and influential electronic musicians of all time.
“Since the release of his earliest EPs in 1991, he has constantly pushed the limits of what can be accomplished with electronic equipment, resulting in forward-thinking and emotionally engaging work.”
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke credits James for inspiring the group’s change in musical direction with 2000’s Kid A. “He burns a heavy shadow,” he said in an interview. “Aphex opened up another world that didn’t involve my fucking electric guitar … Aphex was totally beautiful.” Contrarian James demurred: “I don’t like them. I heard maybe five or six tracks, and I thought they sounded really, really cheesy.”
Two leading musicians who praise Aphex Twin are minimal music innovator Steve Reich and ambient music progenitor Brian Eno. Others include Pharrell Williams, Billie Eilish and Daft Punk.
Review and debut album release
Farintosh’s website notes that “he is known for his unconventional programming choices, connecting with audiences by integrating the classical guitar with more contemporary musical forms such as electronica and jazz.”
Aphex Twin for Guitar was his first EP and issued in 2021. A former teacher, Bradford Werner, credits Farintosh for his “warm sensitive sound and strong rhythmic delivery… and a charming … flow to the works.”
Werner runs the online publication This is Classical Guitar, and writes, “As always with Aphex Twin, there are some very intricate and curious rhythmic patterns that bring the works to life.”
Farintosh’s second EP – Seascapes – also released in 2021, comprises six original compositions inspired by the geography of the Pacific Northwest, featuring solo guitar with atmospheric synth textures. His debut album Noctuary is slated for release later this year and will feature original compositions for solo eight-string guitar. Farintosh pre-released one song recently which you can hear below.
Distant Light is an early release from Farintosh’s upcoming debut album release Noctuary. The song won the 2022 Ottawa Guitar Society Composition Competition.
16 September 2023