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Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Volume II

Friday, March 26, 2010

Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1994)

I bought this on a whim. When I popped into the CD player and put my headphones on, I realized I had made a dreadful mistake and that I had wasted about $20. I felt stupid, considering I thought this would be something awesome that I would like immediately.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty open-minded with most types of music. I can listen to just about anything that has artistic merit.

But with Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume Two, it seems I have met my match.

Because this music is what it says it is in the album title. It’s ambient. It has very little structure, if any at all. When I listen to this, I feel like I’m in zero gravity, floating through space, completely disoriented and confused. It’s like the feeling you have right before you fall asleep, that place where strange thoughts come, where suddenly everything feels like it makes sense.

This album is a taste of that, and I don’t believe it’s something the conscious mind can wrap itself around.

I don’t listen to this often. Once a year, at most. It’s just not that kind of music. I could listen to this on a sleepless night around 3 or 4  in the morning, alone in a dark room when I’m writing a late night paper or studying for finals, in the dark hour right before the first gray on the horizon appears. It’s music that must be listened to alone.

In any case, I won’t pretend to understand anything about this album. I don’t understand it. I don’t enjoy it very much, except when I’m in the rare mood for a song (if you could call them that) or two. But I don’t hate this kind of music, either. I understand there is merit, even if I don’t know what that merit is.

It’s not my bag, but when I’m in a rare mood, when my mind is on its level, I can listen to it. No doubt ambient music is challenging to listen to, and it may take more patience than I’m willing to have to form a more decent opinion on it. In that case, I continue listening to it, when I feel that rare mood strike.

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