Nothing is ever created out of thin air. Whether it be a business venture or an artistic endeavor, the end product is a result of carefully crafted experiments and innovative strategies that have been custom-fitted to address wide-ranging issues that are brought to the surface with growth. Having said that, usually, those that thrive are the ones that were created out of necessity.
When Rephlex Records was created in 1991, it was due to the fact that co-founders Aphex Twin and Grant Wilson-Claridge wanted to produce music that they and their friends wanted to hear. And because at that time, there was virtually nothing in the industry that catered to their musical taste and tendencies, they opted to create their own label. They felt that it was necessary for their idiosyncratic voices to be heard so they pressed up some records and literally and figuratively danced to the beat of their own drums and the result was nothing short of revolutionary.
Not only was Rephlex Records able to produce songs for the disenfranchised, it also became the platform and launching pad for influential electronic artists such as Mike Paradinas (later founded Planet Mu Records),electronic and bass player extraordinaire Squarepusher, dance music legend Luke Vibert and electro pop/synth pop pioneer Ed Upton just to name a few.
Living up to its revolutionary name, Rephlex Records conceived and coined the term ‘Braindance’, an unclassifiable, completely pliable output/brand of music that Aphex Twin and the record company produced over the years. Officially, this is how the term is defined: “Braindance is the genre that encompasses the best elements of all genres, e.g traditional, classical, electronic music, popular, modern, industrial, ambient, hip hop, electro, house, techno, breakbeat, hardcore, ragga, garage, drum and bass, etc.” Long story short, it’s the best of all musical worlds—at least ideally.
Rephlex Records was consistently and steadily producing groundbreaking music over the years, but just like all great things, it must come to its inevitable end. Nothing lasts forever in this world. Whatever the reason for its closure in 2014, the one great take away from its untimely demise is that it has served its purpose. It has showed the world that in an industry that thrives in conformity, it’s alright to be different. That a great idea, regardless of where it came from, can’t go unnoticed for long. As the saying goes, “The cream always rises to the top.”
Rephlex Records might’ve not lasted more than it should but it has sparked a movement and inspired a generation. It undoubtedly has left an indelible mark in the music industry and that, in the grand scheme of things, is its greatest legacy.