Author(s): Marc Weidenbaum
Extravagantly opaque, willfully vaporous - Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, released by the estimable British label Warp Records in 1994, rejuvenated ambient music for the Internet Age that was just dawning. In the United States, it was his first full length on Sire Records (home to Madonna and Depeche Mode), which helped usher in Richard D. James, for whom Aphex Twin is but one of numerous monikers, as a major force in music, electronic or otherwise. Faithful to Brian Eno's definition of ambient music, Selected Ambient Works Volume II was intentionally functional: it furnished chill out rooms, the sanctuaries amid intense raves. Choreographers and film directors began to employ it to their own ends, and in the intervening decades this background music came to the fore, adapted by classical composers who reverse-engineer its fragile textures for performance on acoustic instruments. Simultaneously, "ambient" has moved from esoteric sound art to central tenet of online culture.
This book contends that despite a reputation for being beat-less, the album exudes percussive curiosity, providing a sonic metaphor for our technologically mediated era of countless synchronized nanosecond metronomes.
An engaging, thorough and nuanced look at Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 ambient album in the context of electronic music, rave culture and the early Internet.
Mentioned on LineOut. The Stranger.com If you're already a fan of Aphex Twin, you'll revel in Weidenbaum's deep dive into one of the artist's signature works. If not, you'll be surprised to learn that you've likely already heard his music in one form or another. -- S.T. Vanairsdale The City (SacTownMag.com)
Marc Weidenbaum founded Disquiet.com, which is focused on the intersection of sound, art, and technology, in 1996. A former editor of Tower Records' Pulse! magazine, he's written for Nature, Boing Boing, and the website of The Atlantic. He's commissioned compositions from such musicians as Scanner, Steve Roden, and Stephen Vitiello, and lectures on the role of sound in the media landscape. He lives in San Francisco.
Introduction Background Beats A Chill-room of One's Own Bookending Eno Music for the Ethernet Runic Tendencies Volumes I & III Transcribing & Embedding