Aphex Twin
Selected Ambient Works 85-92


4.0
excellent

Review

by Killtacular USER (34 Reviews)
September 9th, 2005 | 12 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist


"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams." To many, this would mark a line from the famed and zany Willy Wonka. To me, it marks a great track from Aphex Twin's ambient masterpiece, Selected Ambient Works 85-92. Notice how I said masterpiece there, because that's really what this is. Created over the course of seven years solely by Richard James, this is 13 tracks of ambient electronica that's not only good and great, but wonderful. He supposedly constructed a lot of his own instruments by his lonesome. For this, he claims no influences other than himself, as he made the music he wanted. It's a good thing, because it's just fine the way it is.

Instrumentation here is very well done. Rightfully so, because there are no lyrics or vocals, barring a vocal sample in one track. You've got some great drum sounds throughout, with a multitude of creatively placed hat swishes and thick bass notes that serve to keep monotony low. There's none of that repetitive "mm ss mm ss" here. That's just a silly stereotype. So ignore that and get on to the rest of this, here. Basslines are usually repeated throughout the whole song, but serve as a nice anchor for which Richard to weave his other means of dinks, doos, and das. Ageispolis features a line of tinking synths reminiscent of 8 bit videogame music. Then comes some wooing accompaniment, followed by drums with a thick bass sound. Speaking of thick bass drum sounds, this would be an oportune to blast this from your fancy car stereo. That'll teach those silly kids to torture you with their mainstream rap music. I is a short, subtle piece that sounds remarkably like Radiohead's Treefingers, just shorter. Green Calx features a multitude of popping electronic noises that sound somewhat like I imagine a shooting star would sound like on an 80's computer. The album's standout track here is arguable Xtal. It's got some great drum loops, and is just good to listen to, even if you aren't preoccupied. There's some soft female vocals crooning in the background, while the hats sizzle and the bass thuds.

Overall, this is a great album. The only real problem is sound quality, which isn't as good as it could be. This is to be expected, as most, if not all of the tracks here were mastered from the original tapes Richard used to give his friends a sample whilst riding around. That and Tha goes on for a few minutes longer than it should. The songs here are ambient, while not being sparesly populated bits of music. If you're used to Brian Eno piano pieces, you may not like this too much. For everyone else, though, you should get some form of enjoyment out of this. Every track on here is a very well composed, well put together piece of electronica. It's repetative in a way that you can zone out while doing something else and still enjoy it. Put this on in the background and read a book. Go for a drive with this blasting loud enough to scare old ladies. Or you could just have a good listen while you sleep. So go pick up a copy now, and then find something constructive to do with your time while you induldge in some of the finest ambient electronica you'll ever need.


SCRUPLES



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user ratings (1080)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
Justin Swope (5)
Selected Ambient Works 85-92 explores the unknown depths of electronic music with a diversity of sty...

ThroneOfAgony (4.5)
Although not entirely accessible because of the repetition, it’s still one of the greatest electro...

Andrew H. EMERITUS (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
unflea
September 10th 2005


11 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A most excellent review for an amazing album. Cheers!

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
September 10th 2005


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

SCRUPLES, the review has already been done. Check next time :/This Message Edited On 09.10.05

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
September 10th 2005


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You are allowed to review albums that have already been reviewed.

By the way nice review, really is a great album.This Message Edited On 09.10.05

Damrod
Moderator
September 10th 2005


1093 Comments


Great review of a good album. Great tracks present there, though my overall favorite song by Aphesx Twin is still Windowlicker

Killtacular
September 10th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh look, I've been voted against for no reason. Joy.

This was a whole lot easier to write than my gargantuan reviews, and it took a whole lot less time.

left
September 10th 2005


13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

very good album. good review also. Aphex is one of the best artists of the last decade

Killtacular
September 10th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Is it pronounced 'Ap-hex' or 'A-fex'? That's always kind of bothered me.

left
September 10th 2005


13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i pronounce his name FX and i believe that most people pronounce it the same way i do

Killtacular
September 11th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've been tempted to check out his Ambient Works Vol. 2, but I hear tell it's along the Brian Eno line of things. Is it worth investigating?

Med57
Moderator
September 11th 2005


1001 Comments


You say this like sounding similar to Brian Eno is a bad thing...This Message Edited On 09.11.05

Killtacular
September 11th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No no, quite the contrary. It's just different, s'all. It's rather hard to listen to Eno-ish things unless I'm preoccupied, whereas with this I can just listen to it while paying full attention.

Shadowed Reflection
January 16th 2009


274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hedphelym needed a mention, being one of the best things RDJ has done ever. Otherwise great review.



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