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Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works 85-92 Zip
The dubstep crowd have reacted to this release in a similar way to how The Orb and Aphex Twin fans reacted to Selected Ambient Works 25 years ago: enthusiastically and with a sense of mild betrayal, the unexpected visit of James to the genre surprised some and displeased others. But for those who have followed him over the years, Aphex Twin is a constant presence in the ambient scene. True ambient, not this kind of “stylized” ambient. James remains a decent model for developing a canon of innovative ambient music.
Indeed, Aphex Twin is a fascinating but opaque figure. He is capable of recording a great record and yet there are certain aspects of his sound that are unclassifiable, especially if used in isolation. His remixing of “Fluid Forms” (not to mention the “Aquarius” album) has led to some questions surrounding his exact musical style. Unfortunately, James doesn’t have the Wiki page that The Orb and Green Velvet have had and disquiet.com is no longer updated.
There is, however, one online community of great enthusiasts who have been trying to rescue James from obscurity and restore him to his former glory: SoundCloud . They take great pains to keep track of James’s releases, play them in their thousands, and they introduce his music to new listeners. Without this, the incoming generation of Ambient fans would have been deprived of some of their favorite music.
Again, this is not a definitive list and it should not be construed as criticism of the Selected Ambient Works 85-92; you might argue that Selected Ambient Works 85-92 is the classic Ambient album and that Selected Ambient Works 85-92 is a mere prequel/transition rather than an extension of the sounds that were found in the album. If you prefer, you could use Selected Ambient Works 85-92 as an outlier and the other works on the same disc as Ambient music.
In later years, this work more and more dynamic and varied. As well as a tight variety of ambient techno, Aphex also uses full-on heavy trance that would fit in with your favourite techno DJ’s set perfectly.
James’ German side project Exai sets the tone here, with his one-man, organ-led compositions. Indeed, there’s a wealth of detail in his tracks, from the multitracked dubs, to the scratchy one-man vocal samples, to the expertly mixed drum tracks. Jump from the meandering theme on “Gradient” to the sedate, piano-led “Bicycle Run” and you’ll be spoiled for choice. There’s no doubt about this version of The Ambient Works on Rephlex, from the subtle to the outright dizzying.
This rather vocal version of The Ambient Works is slightly more of a conga line than the rest of the collection. However, it does have its charms, serving as a keystone to the album’s overall sound. It works well in tandem with other tracks on side one, including the sprightly beats that power “Doppeleins”. In fact, this cut could have been released as a single, especially when paired with the next one, “Come to Daddy”. A bit of a cut-and-paste job, the next snippet segues right into the next cut, and the next, too. Also odd is a slightly longer version of “Floeist”, starting about 5:00 in. The track runs the gamut of moods, from a slight squeak to a more modulated, gently warbling tone, and even a low-key high-pitched melody. The Korg Wavestation is a steadfast machine.
This may be the first track on the album to feature Richard James’ then-new side project, Aphex Twin. Over the years it has been rumored that this is where the name of the project came from, as this track had no title. However, the production quality, especially the arrangement and the vocal samples, makes it clear that this is an Aphex Twin side project. Aphex Twin, as DJ’s (he released a couple of tracks under his own name) had begun pulling various influences into his DJ sets. It seems likely that he found this sample and arrangement in some early version of his 2005 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2. Possibly written for James’ DJ sets, the song is a bit of a mystery, and even to this day, no one has an answer as to exactly what it might have been.