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Selected Ambient Works Vol.2

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Aphex Twin

Selected Ambient Works Vol.2

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

NEARLY 20 YEARS AFTER ITS INITIAL RELEASE, APHEX TWIN'S Selected Ambient Works Volume II has maintained its status as one of the landmark albums of electronic music. Picking up where Selected Ambient Works '85-'92 left off, it is appears that this album was composed over a much shorter period of time. There is more cohesion between the individual tracks and the record's sequencing leads to a grander statement than its predecessor. Although it may have confounded those fans looking for the intense gabber workouts and techno explorations that Aphex had made his mark with, Selected Ambient Works Volume II follows in the path set out by early electronic and ambient pioneers like Brian Eno, Erik Satie, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley with tremendous success. The pieces are at once eerie and soothing, balancing subtle dissonance with mournful drones. There's a dark and creepy underbelly to the whole affair. And while all that may sound dark and brooding, there is an uplifting quality to the work. The album was released without any track names, save for "Blue Calx," just a color coded chart for each side with an associated picture on the sleeve. Over the years fan impetus led to each track being given a name based on the image representing it (i.e. "Rhubarb" for track 3). Unfortunately, the elusive "Stone In Focus" - track E2 on the original vinyl release - is missing from this reissue. Selected Ambient Works Volume II is one of the highlights of Richard D. James' prolific career and a must for any fan of ambient electronic music. Includes a semi-gloss single-sided paper insert.


Aphex Twin's 1994 masterpiece Selected Ambient Works Volume II includes barely anything resembling a beat or any sign of typical song structure, yet the album continues to garner adulation generally reserved for holy music. Fans have been testifying on its behalf for nearly two decades, as if it were capable of curing ills or healing the soul. Its synthetic construction belies the intuitive, human, melancholic and uplifting nature of the music. Some have speculated the album was intended by Aphex Twin's Richard D. James as a farce, as if its ++ber-minimalism was a joke played on an electronic community that relied so heavily on the beat; an expectation-defying statement from ambient-house's young hero. The album induces varied responses and often from the same person. A listener may go from being incredulous to drenched in tears within the span of a single track. Music critic Frank Owen described the music as "veering between an eerie beauty and an almost nightmarish desolation." James himself described it as "like standing in a power station on acid." The album's raw emotional power is built upon the influences of Brian Eno, Erik Satie, Steve Reich, Terry Riley and The Orb. Each of its tracks has an elegiac and desolate feel far removed from the tooth-rattling, drill-'n'-bass or abstract electronica for which James was originally known. The soft, nimble flow leaves one in a tranquilized state. Throughout the album, James resists the temptation to layer the sound with beats or samples. Instead, he relies on swathes of sound and harmonics and almost-implied pulses. When the music does incorporate subtle industrial sounds, rhythmic drums or muted samples, it is only to affect a menacing feel in the textures. Remarkably, for an album that is often perceived as difficult, Selected Ambient Works Volume II is quite accessible. Featured in films, commercials and video games, the music continues to offer an entry point for listeners new to the ambient genre while remaining a classic touted by connoisseurs.

Additional Information

Artist Aphex Twin
Track Listing Disc: 1 1. cliffs 2. radiator 3. rhubarb 4. grass 5. mold 6. ropes 7. circles 8. weathered stone 9. tree 10. domino 11. steel plate Disc: 2 1. blue calx 2. parallel stripes 3. metal grating 4. windowsill 5. b+w stripes 6. siding nails 7. corrugated tubing 8. lichen 9. leaves 10. tassels 11. rusty metal 12. b+w stripesII 13. Shiny Metal Rods - Aphex Twin 14. Grey Stripe - Aphex Twin 15. Z Twig - Aphex Twin 16. Window Sill - Aphex Twin 17. Hexagon - Aphex Twin 18. Lichen - Aphex Twin 19. Spots - Aphex Twin 20. Tassels - Aphex Twin 21. White Blur 2 - Aphex Twin 22. Match Sticks - Aphex Twin

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