Aphex Twin Had A Booth At The Summer NAMM Trade Show And, Yeah, It was A Little Strange

At the 2016 Summer NAMM Show, Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) had a booth, to introduce his new Cheetah EP and to display his rare Cheetah MS800 synthesizer.

We talked with Hannah from Warp Records, who gave us a quick booth tour.


The design and promotion for the Cheetah EP is inspired by the Cheetah MS800, a rare British synth that Richard D. James used in creating the EP, and the Cheetah Sweet Talker, below – a speech synthesizer for the Synclair ZX Spectrum computer.


The Cheetah MS800 has a reputation for being impenetrable to use. Here’s what virtual instrument maker GForce Software has to say about it:

In the early 1990’s after a good degree of success, Cheetah released one of the quirkiest digital synths ever produced, their MS800.

This affordable Digital Wave Sequencing Synthesiser had an interesting spec sheet and sound, in addition to the honour of being one of the most unfathomable instruments ever made – it was mind numbingly confusing to program, not just in terms of setting up a sound but even something as simple as changing a MIDI channel on the MS800 could cause an aneurism.

Here’s a preview of the new EP, CIRKLON3:

The Cheetah EP is available on iTunes and Bleep, and details are available at the Warp site.

19 thoughts on “Aphex Twin Had A Booth At The Summer NAMM Trade Show And, Yeah, It was A Little Strange

  1. Very silly indeed – glass casing a fairly mainstream old bit of kit to flog some noises coming out of it….But on the other hand…it’s all a bit Barnbrook and I love the TEXTURE of this kind of marketing. Consumerism gone all concept. Music isn’t valued enough as we all know. Aphex twin obviously feels his needs a pedestal to remind us of that, and why not.

  2. I was there and got to hear the album, it was pretty cool! I really enjoyed that it was entirely made with one module.

  3. Yes, it is a little goofy but I totally get it. He wants to capture the quaint charm of 80’s style synth marketing and pretend his record is a synth product. And of course many synth geeks both go to NAMM and like Aphex Twin.

  4. The thing (or at least a thing) about Aphex Twin is that he’s done and continues to do stuff where one might think “well that’s a bit silly – anyone could’ve done that” (be it marketing or packaging or music themes) and the truth is perhaps but no one did or no one did it like he did it. As an artist you don’t stay newsworthy as long as Aphex has unless you’re a True innovator on more than one front.

    And that’s not even touching on his actual music: I played Heliosphan today and watched little kids get absorbed in it while noting to myself that it never gets or feels old.

    Epilogue: Total Respect.

  5. From the Soundcloud stuff to post-desktop hardware sales… Aphex Twin is just cementing his legacy as a funny guy with a ton of talent. He cracks me up whenever he pops up and that’s what entertaining people do. People who are able to work in the world of entertainment with his level of autonomy… it’s great, dude is just such a successful artist. I can’t wait to pick this up. I’m a graphic designer + a synth geek so this packaging is making me drool.

    Wiki a bit of stuff about trickster mythology. It’s not supposed to always go down easy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickster

  6. 15 note polyphonic. Does it also have 126 levels of velocity? 13 part multitimbral? Aphex Twin would make a better name for an amplifier.

  7. Looking forward to hearing it. I am a massive fan of quirky, obscure and sometimes dirt cheap digital modules. Anyone else here own an Evolution EVS-1 for instance? I love that shit.

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