Aphex Twin
Selected Ambient Works 85-92


4.5
superb

Review

by ThroneOfAgony USER (12 Reviews)
April 15th, 2012 | 38 replies | 3,910 views


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Although not entirely accessible because of the repetition, it’s still one of the greatest electronic albums ever recorded.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

It could only be predicted how much publicity and praise Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92 would receive in the future. The spine-chilling ambient patterns, thick percussions, and minor synthesizer effects were what painted it its picture; and all of that excelled. Today the album remains quintessential in the electronic field; and correctly so. Even though it may not be necessarily accessible because of the drastically simple melodies and non-interchangeable compositions, there’s still a meticulous work of art here. Selected Ambient Works 85-92 is not only Richard D. James’s most unsurpassed album to date, but his most innovative and charmingly creative.

The sound production on the LP is crystal clear and without warning, occasionally surprising. Played through a nice pair of headphones or even speakers, it will create such a sonic and mystifying atmosphere that is incredibly superior from the rest of Richard’s discography. For the entire album, it’s mostly all memorable; a lot of very catchy, emotional setups that are mottled, diverse, and best of all, inspirational for one’s work.

Richard D. James helps kick off the album with ‘Xtal’, a slow burning track that gradually increases with a simple yet emotionally gratifying 3-piece ambient chord section; that honestly, is perfect. Songs like ‘Pulsewidth’, which in complete opposite, is a happy, uplifting piece. The actual sound of the track is untouchable; with the cheerful synthesizers and shaky percussions that make it easily one of the best on the album. Working your way down the near classic album, you are encountered with ‘Green Calx’, which could easily be mistaken for some Mega Man game or Final Fantasy game (maybe fighting one of the bosses???); and as well as that, it has a grisly and liquid-sounding synthesizer that plays a positive role in the track. ‘Ptolemy’ has the same rickety percussion and grimy synth layout as ‘Green Calx’ but with spastic chimes and bells; and ‘Delphium’ is a more danceable tune, with the stylized 4/4 beat and bouncing synthesizer.

The finally isn’t really worthwhile other than it being darker and shadowy; with the brisk yet violent rhythm/percussions and constantly pulsating yet slightly inaudible beat (it could easily be heard well with an expensive pair of headphones that is).

Overall, Selected Ambient Works 85-92 comes out as an acquired taste; not necessarily sound wise, but repetition wise. If you can’t digest very lengthy, spaced-out tunes that barely revolve, then this will not be your cup o’ tea. The album, without question, has remained extremely influential in ambient music altogether, and as of today, still is coded as one of the greatest ambient albums ever. There’s a definite sound of maturity here too; a lot of deep, emotional, ambient tunes with more planned out buildup/song structures which all in all, make this whole record truly incredible. James is a man that knows what he’s doing.



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Chart.
4.3
superb
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Comments:Add a Comment 
ThroneOfAgony
April 15th 2012



3485 Comments


Great album

Thane
April 15th 2012



2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yea

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2012



4409 Comments


Good review. Pos.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

ThroneOfAgony
April 15th 2012



3485 Comments


Thanks Paperback

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2012



50088 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah

Digging: Tiny Moving Parts - Pleasant Living

TheMushuPork
April 15th 2012



462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ambient Works Volume II is much better, it sets a better mood, and creates a soundscape that will make you feel actual emotion. That being said, I agree with the review, and Xtal will remain one of my favorites.

Rev
April 15th 2012



9404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

inb4 Baseline


yeah, this is pretty classic stuff, one of my all time favs

ThroneOfAgony
April 15th 2012



3485 Comments


Xtal is so simple yet so emotional that it makes it my fav


Yeah this is sublime shit

fulgrim
April 15th 2012



1542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Haven't listened to this for a while, will have to change that.

ThroneOfAgony
April 15th 2012



3485 Comments


Thanks, and you really should. This album is ideal for relaxing

J1996
April 15th 2012



329 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The lack of 5's on this page is horrible, good review.

VlacDrac
April 15th 2012



835 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review
Pos

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2012



50088 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah

ThroneOfAgony
April 15th 2012



3485 Comments


Thanks guys


And this album is slightly near a 5 for me, but I have yet to spend ample amounts of time with it. But nevertheless, this album is amazing.

tarkus
April 15th 2012



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

all i remember about this record is that it sounds really good on drugs

ThroneOfAgony
April 15th 2012



3485 Comments


It certainly sounds good at night

TheMushuPork
April 15th 2012



462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

On drugs at night? Oh, then it becomes a bit scary.

sifFlammable
April 15th 2012



2741 Comments


i dont understand people that seek atmosphere and complain about repetition

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2012



31085 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Still the best thing he's ever done

Digging: Banks - Goddess

TheMushuPork
April 15th 2012



462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"i dont understand people that seek atmosphere and complain about repetition"

People rather be immersed in what they're listening to rather than merely entertained. Seeking atmosphere in theory, would provide a better listening session that opposed to just repeating the same part over and over again. This is not the case with this album, as it is multilayered repition, which adds a whole new level of sophistication.



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