Tag Archives: selected ambient works II

the summer sounds of…..Aphex Twin?

IT IS NATURAL FOR PEOPLE TO ASSOCIATE MUSIC WITH ANY NUMBER OF THINGS; FRIENDS, PLACES, RELATIONSHIPS, SEASONS…… BUT SOMETIMES THOSE ASSOCIATIONS CAN SURPRISE YOU.  TAKE SELECTED AMBIENT WORKS II BY APHEX TWIN FOR EXAMPLE, WHICH FOR SOME LISTENERS MIGHT REMIND THEM OF ALL SORTS OF VARIOUS EXPERIENCES – FOR US IT’S A SUMMER ALBUM.  NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING IN ITS’ MOOD, TONE OR COLOR  THAT SUGGESTS ‘SUMMER’ AT ALL, MOST PEOPLE MIGHT SITE THE ANTITHETICAL WINTER TO DESCRIBE THE FEELING OF THE RECORDS.  YET FOR US THERE IS THAT DIVINE STRANGENESS AT WORK IN OUR MINDS THAT LINKS SAWII AND THE VERY PARTICULAR SUMMER HEAT & HUMIDITY FOUND IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH.  STRANGE? PERHAPS. 

AS WE PERIODICALLY PULL THIS FROM THE STACKS (in any season) AND LISTEN THROUGH IT, WE’RE CONSTANTLY AMAZED AT JUST HOW GOOD IT IS.  17 YEARS AFTER ITS RELEASE, SAWII IS JUST AS HAUNTING, STRANGE, BEAUTIFUL AND IMPRESSIVE AS IT WAS IN 1994.  AT TIMES HYPNOTIC, MINIMALIST, LULLING, CREEPY AND TRULY AMBIENT (IN A WAY THAT SAW 85-92 ISN’T), RICHARD D. JAMES CREATED A CLASSIC RECORD THAT EVEN HE HIMSELF HASN’T SURPASSED.

NOT THAT APHEX TWIN IS OBSCURE BY ANY MEANS, BUT SOMETIMES EVEN THOSE ‘RECOGNIZED’ GREAT ALBUMS GET STUCK IN THE BACK OF THE STACKS…… AND IF YOU HAVE A COPY HANDY AND LIVE IN THE HOTNESS, THROW IT ON, SEE IF IT HOLDS ANY SECRET ASSOCIATIONS YOU DIDN’T REMEMBER.

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