Wednesday, October 15, 2008

709. Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992)

Track Listing

1. Xtal
2. Tha
3. Pulsewidth
4. Ageispolis
5. i
6. Green Calx
7. Heliosphan
8. We Are The Music Makers
9. Schottkey 7th Path
10. Ptolemy
11. Hedphelym
12. Delphium
13. Actium


Two things about this album are particularly amazing. The first is the fact that it is almost impossible to create an electronic dance music album in 1992 and not make it feel terribly dated and tacky in 2008, and this manages that feat tremendously. The second astounding thing about it is that Mr. Twin would have been 14 in 1985 when some of these tracks were composed!

Composed is the correct term here. This is a collection of Ambient compositions which sound like Brian Eno on some weird mix of ecstasy and weed. In fact that is a bit unfair on Aphex, they sound like nothing that came before, although there has been plenty afterwards trying to mimic it.

This is the album that cements Aphex Twin's reputation as a genius, and even if this had been the only good thing he produced that reputation would have been amply deserved. I am always astounded when someone comes out of a basement with a new style of music, and Aphex did just that.

Track Highlights

1. Tha
2. Actium
3. Schottkey 7th Path
4. Xtal

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Although primarily an instrumental effort, many of the songs feature vocal samples. "Xtal" has samples of female vocalising, as well as alternating fantasy sounds in alternating measures, both repeated intermittently throughout the song. "Tha" has clips of two people (one possibly being James himself) talking, while "Actium" has samples of what sound like squeaking shoes in a hallway. "We Are the Music Makers" features a line of dialogue from the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Some have mistakenly attributed James with the first use of this oft-used sample, but while James may have created track 8 with the quote at some time after 1985, the first use of it appeared on "Nephatiti" on ex:el by 808 State, the Manchester group that influenced James and its song “Flow Coma” that James remixed and appeared on 2003's 26 Mixes for Cash (disc 2, track 6). "Green Calx" contains samples from RoboCop: the dinosaur's popping eyes during the 6000 SUX TV ad, the ED-209 robot trying to go downstairs without success, and the sound of RoboCop browsing faces of criminals in the police archives computer. "Green Calx" also contains a faint sample of the vocal from "Fodderstompf" by Public Image Ltd.

You like train tracks? You like
Tha from Aphex's Twin's 1992 effort Selected Ambient Works 85-92? Then this is the video for YOU!:

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