LONDON -- Fans of maverick techno artist Aphex Twin came from as far away
as Finland to see the premiere of his "Windowlicker" video -- and hear the song for the
first time -- in a West End bar Thursday night.
And they weren't even guaranteed a chance of seeing Aphex Twin (a.k.a. Richard
James) himself. In fact, it's unlikely any did.
He was scheduled to play a late-night set, but as of midnight was nowhere in sight. All
the night's DJs, including Plastikman, were hidden behind the large screen on which the
video was projected.
But that was OK with Alex Lambley, 25, who came to the premiere. "It's one of the best
videos I've ever seen," she said.
Chris Cunningham, who directed Aphex Twin's videos (he also did Madonna's
"Frozen"), said he deliberately gave "Windowlicker" a lighter tone than the video for the
artist's "Come to Daddy" (RealAudio
excerpt). This one, which Cunningham said he shot in Miami for about $200,000,
features a host of swimsuit-clad women with Aphex Twin faces and a dance routine with
Aphex Twin umbrellas.
"It was just like an attempt to make something that was the opposite [of 'Come to
Daddy']," Cunningham said. He joked that its main theme is "birds with beards."
The "Windowlicker" single is due March 22 in the U.K. on Warp Records. There's no
release date yet for the video. A spokesperson at Aphex Twin's U.S. label, Sire, couldn't
be reached Friday (Feb. 12) for information on a U.S. release.
Large lines formed outside the building all evening for the chance to see the follup-up to a video
that featured a horde of rampaging children with Aphex Twin faces terrorizing a
Once inside, the packed crowd roared with laughter at the video's first screening, during
which the Aphex Twin was said to be stationed somewhere behind the screen.
For three hours after the first screening, Plastikman (born Richie Hawtin) mixed
hard-techno songs with '70s and '80s pop tunes, including Roxy Music's "Angel Eyes,"
Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and Soft Cell's "Tainted Love."
Then the video was shown again, at 11:30 p.m., and the response was even better, with
the alcoholically refreshed crowd sitting on the dance floor and laughing in fits.
Most of the audience was male, which perplexed Kate Hutchins, 30, a marketing
"I love this sort of music, but what is it about this sort of thing that just attracts boys?" she
asked. "I don't understand."