Aphex Twin

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Selected Ambient Works, Volume II

Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works, Volume II ©1994 Sire
CD one:
1. 1-11 Untitled
CD two:
1. 12-23 Untitled

Unlike other Aphex Twin releases that rely on scattershot beats, aggressive rhythms, dissonance and whatever else mastermind Richard James feels like tossing in, Selected Ambient Works, Volume II is a deconstructed, wandering experience through soundscapes, haunting and occasionally creepy passages and dissolved music. Often percussionless and usually reliant on stripped down components of songs, this two CD set is an engaging, although exhaustive journey through the strangest recesses of James' mind. Some of the songs (all of which are untitled, although fans have assigned titles based on the series of interior art of the liner notes) are gorgeous, even in their simplicity, while others strike a deviant chord within. The CDs are best approached with headphones, late at night and while your mind is willing to passively assimilate the music. Unlike definition ambient music that is nothing more than sound effects and background noises collaged into a single piece, there is a slight structure to most of these songs. Mood is essentially the key focus here. These twenty-three tracks are indeed a bit much to swallow when one is not in the mood but on a whole, Selected Ambient Words, Volume II is an impressive and quietly wonderful artistic outlet.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2001

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Richard D. James Album

Aphex Twin - Richard D. James Album ©1996 Warp/Sire
1. 4
2. Cornish Acid
3. Peek 824545201
4. Fingerbib
5. Carn Marth
6. To Cure A Weakling Child
7. Goon Gumpas
8. Yello Calx
9. Girl/boy Song
10. Logan Rock Witch
11. Milkman
12. Inkey$
13. Girl/boy (Snare Rush Mix)
14. Beetles
15. Girl/boy (red Ruth Mix)

Considering all the hype and attention Aphex Twin seems to get, this album is quite the mono-dimensional dud. Unlike others in the electronic/ambient/techno/what-have-you genre, Aphex Twin comes off as thinly layered, stylistically lacking and quite uninvigorating. Despite moments of entertaining sounds, the album is a yawn-fest throughout. Richard James (the techno-tinkler in question) relies too much on annoying machine gun snare rhythms when he should be concentrating on writing fuller pieces. When you see the evil face on the cover staring at you the next time you go CD shopping, turn the jewel case around and keep on looking.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/1998

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