“Blame Game,” is an emotionally stark number from Kanye West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; the track incorporates John Legend’s downbeat vocals and a horrifyingly funny bedroom monologue by Chris Rock to convey an emotional and mental breakdown following a breakup. But the musical element that ties everything together is West’s sampling of Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14,” a hauntingly melodic piano solo by Aphex frontman Richard D. James. But West wasn’t the first to utilize the track to powerful effect.
The song appears on a recurring basis throghout Gideon Koppel’s acclaimed documentary sleep furiously, along with several other Aphex Twin tracks (mostly taken from the album Drukqs). It was the first time Richard D. James approved his music for an entire feature soundtrack. Watch this video (the first Fandor-produced music video!) to see how well James’ music matches up with picturesque scenes of the Welsh countryside.
How did Koppel get James to work on the film? In an interview with Time Out, he answers:
‘I didn’t get him to work on it. In the editing process I had an iPod stuffed with music. Everybody was saying, “You can’t use Aphex Twin, it’s going to be very expensive.” Then, out of the blue Richard wrote saying he loved the film, but he really didn’t like the way that I edited the music. And he was very funny, asking how I would feel if Warp Films released my work but decided they liked one particular scene so repeated it ten times and cut halfway through? In the end he said, “It’s your film, I really love it and the unfortunate thing is we don’t have time for me to write something specifically.”’ Gideon Koppel
Koppel and James plan to collaborate again on an upcoming film project – details will be disclosed by Koppel in an interview we will publish next week.
How does Koppel’s use of “Avril 14” stack up against Kanye’s? Watch West and John Legend perform “Blame Game” and judge for yourself:
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