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Sunday 11 September 2022

Forty Minutes Of Aphex Twin

A few weeks ago I thought I'd do a mix of Aphex Twin tracks for this Sunday series of half hour mixes and then suddenly felt quite daunted by it- by the sheer range, breadth and depth of his back catalogue- and shelved it. Recently, feeling a little more confident about it, I dove in and just stitched together the Aphex Twin tracks that I'd reach for if I wanted to hear some of the inner workings of the mind of Richard D. James, pulled gravitationally towards the less nosebleed stuff and more towards the more ambient/ dreamy/ chilled output. There are umpteen potential further Aphex Twin mixes lurking in my head/ on my hard drive but for the moment this one will have to do- since throwing it together I've listened to it several times and it works much better than I expected it to. 

Forty Minutes Of Aphex Twin

  • #19 aka Stone In Focus
  • 34 Ibiza Spliff
  • On
  • Alberto Balsam
  • Delphium
  • Analogue Bubblebath
  • Avril 14th
  • Avril 14th Reversed

Track 19/ #19 aka Stone In Focus is from 1994's Selected Ambient Works II, the vinyl only, it was omitted from the CD releases for lack of running time (it's over ten minutes long), a slow moving ambient recording, three chords in very minimal style. It sounds something like the universe shifting around slightly. Planets and stars in super slow orbit. Dust forming over eons. 

34 Ibiza Spliff is from the Soundcloud page belonging to user18081971, widely recognised as Aphex Twin's unreleased tracks dump, a treasure trove of recordings. On came out on Warp in November 1993 and had a video directed by Jarvis Cocker and filmed in West Kirby, Wirral. 

Alberto Balsam is from the third Aphex Twin album, ...I Care Because You Do, released in 1995, a record that combines analogue ambient, Philip Glass inspired minimalism and brain mashing techno. 

Delphium is from Selected Ambient Works 85- 92, the legendary 1992 album made up of tracks Richard James did using homemade synths and drum machines and recorded onto cassette, full of moments of subtle, melodic, organic, acid house/ dance music/ IDM. 

Analogue Bubblebath was The Aphex Twin's debut, out on Mighty Force in September 1991. The record's Wikipedia page says 'it's release has been described as a key event in the history of dance music' and that's putting it mildly. 

Avril 14th is a Satie- esque minimalist piano track from 2001's Druqks. It has been streamed hundreds of millions of times, been used in films and sampled by Kanye West.

Avril 14th Reversed was officially unreleased until 2018 when James dropped it onto his online store. The mp3 comes with this information- 'reversed music not audio [tapedel] played and programmed modified yamaha disklavia pro, recorded to Nagra IVS 5_' which is a very technical and unromantic description of something very beautiful indeed. 


Anonymous said...

I listened to this whilst washing the car earlier on. It was strangely therapeutic. Swc.

Swiss Adam said...

Music to wash the car to- a hitherto untapped series