Aphex Twin - Windowlicker Video

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"Windowlicker" Video Review

"Windowlicker" is a 1999 single by electronic music artist Richard D. James, released under the Aphex Twin name on Warp. The artwork is by The Designers Republic. The single reached #16 in the UK Singles Chart.

The name of the single comes from the derogatory British term windowlicker, meaning a mentally handicapped person. The term is also a direct English translation of the French term faire du lèche-vitrine, meaning "window shopper"; a second meaning played up in the song's video.

The title track consists of Richard's voice modulated on computer, mixed with his trademark breakbeat snare rushes and drum samples, and mixed choir-like singing, resulting in a smooth, yet erratic song, with its last minute escalating into an extremely distorted wall of bass. Also included is a sample of James's French then-girlfriend speaking in her native tongue (saying "J'aime faire des croquettes du chien," translating (literally) to "I like to make dog food" / "I like to make food for dog" [unclear, depending on the context, here inexistant], [interpretation] "I like to have sex with dogs") or "I like to bite dogs". The song could be interpreted as a parody of oversexualized commercial Hip Hop and dance music. Track two, generally known as "Formula" (due to its title on the disc being an extremely complex mathematical formula), features sounds that wreak havoc on the eardrums of the listener, and has a very experimental sound. Track three, dedicated to his girlfriend, is made up of wind-up music box samples.

Also of note is the promotional music video, a ten-minute long parody of contemporary American rap music videos. In the video, two foul mouthed young men (a Latino and an African American) in LA are attempting, unsuccessfully, to pick up two young African American women (referred to in the end credits as "hoochies"), when suddenly a ridiculously long white limousine crashes into the two men's black Mazda Miata (MX5) convertible, and a "pimped-out" Richard D. James displaying a surreal amount of wealth and power emerges with a fixed grin. The two women, among others, accompany Richard in his limousine while their faces morph into James's own likeness—possibly symbolizing the perceived narcissism found in many rap music videos or perhaps to remove the visual pleasure from the women as to make sure that the video isn't popular due to the selling of sex. The video was directed by Chris Cunningham, who also directed the infamous music video for Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" in 1997.

It is worth noting that the men are "window shopping" for prostitutes during the video's opening; the French term for "window shopping" is faire du lèche-vitrine, which literally translates to "licking the windows".

There are 127 uses of profanity used in the dialogue segment of the video which is little in under 4 minutes, including 44 uses of the word "fuck". This averages to about 1 use of profanity every 2 seconds.

The promo was nominated for the "Best Video" award at the Brit Awards 2000, alongside videos by Supergrass, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, and eventual winner Robbie Williams.


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Aphex Twin - Windowlicker