The genius mastermind behind Aphex Twin, Richard D. James, had to move on from his Selected Ambient Works series and create something new and different that was as groundbreaking as his early work. The result? This album, which was seen as a groundbreaking release way back in 1995. Does it still sound good and as fresh today as it did back in 1995? Let’s find out.
The album begins with Acrid Avid Jam Shred which begins with some glitchy drumbeats, some interesting and different textures and a very IDM sort of sensibility here. Some excellent additional beat based textures enter, and we are underway. Strange melodies then enter, which are very film like. This piece sounds very melodramatic, and is a really amazing listen from the start. Acid textures eventually enter, making this piece sound very different. It is very catchy and unforgettable here, and goes into a breakdown with some string like sections. The beats are further modified, going into a really awesome and fantastic set of textures here. A really different and inventive listen, Aphex Twin has made an awesome piece of music here. Punchy breakbeats then are played alone here, which sound really awesome and wonderful. A really excellent listen for this music, and this sounds awesome and amazing. The textures and beats here sound inventive, clever and imaginative, a rarity for a lot of types of EDM music out there. An awesome piece that sounds like a movie soundtrack, very cool. It ends with the breakbeats by themselves, before concluding. A great seven minute long piece is here, and is a wonderful effort being simple, yet dramatic.
After that is The Waxen Pith which begins with some artistic Acid styled sounds, an original and real set of string melodies. These are mixed in nicely to full effect. It sounds really artistic, imaginative and different here, whilst still retaining beauty and melody as well. A really awesome and different listen, this deserves top marks for what it is. A crafty and original piece of melodic beauty, this is an unforgettable listen upon hearing. There are some darker sounds underpinning the main melody here as well, which are gradually mixed into the fore, which are outstanding. A really clever, unique and wonderful listening experience, Aphex Twin delivers very well here. It gets minimal in the second half, before the string section becomes more prominent. Excellent and awesome music, and unlike anything else out there in the history of music. Brilliant to hear from start to finish.
Wax The Nip is next here, beginning with some really awesome and original Breakbeat styled loops and textures that sound awesome. Really great and crafty stuff, this is a wonderful and awesome piece to hear, building up with some thematic strings, textures and melodies that are awesome and fantastic. A great and original cross genre mix of sound, it sounds like a film soundtrack for those who love EDM. It is also rather catchy for such an unusual piece of music, and sounds truly inventive, imaginative and wonderful here. A really cool piece of music, this is lively and powerful, being a mixture of Breakbeats, strings and other catchy textures. Towards the end, the beats go a little quieter, before finishing up with a single note melody. Brilliant.
Icct Hedral is next, beginning with some rather dark and discordant melodies, with some very IDM and treated beats here. It’s superb and very, very cool, sounding like film music for those who wish to explore the dark side of life. There are some additional strange textures added into the mix, and this piece of music is very detailed, expertly delivered and interesting for those who listen to it. Rather catchy and different, this sounds warped and eerie. It’s a great mixture of IDM, Techno, Film sounding music and dark textures that are different and amazing. In the second half, some weird and unusual textures emerge to support the main melody here, and the whole track is extraordinarily amazing. Definitely great listening for a six minute long piece, and indescribably good, although dark and eerie here. A reoccurring set of melodies that are really discordant finish off this piece, followed by a very dark outro. Excellent stuff.
Next here is Ventolin (Video Edit) which begins with a high frequency modulated noise, which has incorporated breakbeats into it. Not the most comfortable sound you’ll ever hear in your life, that’s for sure, but acceptable in this context nonetheless. A great mixture of Glitch, Breakbeat and EDM, despite the high frequency noises ongoing here. A very clever, original and awesome piece of music here, it goes into a progression of IDM sounds and textures here. The high pitched sound here is very intense, and may be too much for some, but sounds really cool anyway. Great piece of music with some intelligent and well deployed sounds and textures here nonetheless. It sounds really awesome, and gets thunderous towards the end with prominent beats, before finishing abruptly. Neat.
Following is Come On You Slags which begins with some bizarre melodies and doesn’t sound at all easy listening. Some airport reporter sounding vocal samples are in the background, before some interesting beats enter. This is very weird, to say the least. Before long, a vocal sample of the song title enters and some cut up breakbeats enter. Very weird, but still very good here. The vocal sample is pushed back and forth in the mix here, along with the ongoing weird melodies. Another sample of the song title enters, and some pummeling beats hit you. A very forward thinking and interesting listen, but this is a weird track all right. This is really bizarre listening, and just sounds different. The elongated vocal sample then comes in the fore, before “Come On You Slags” is said here, and the beats return. A very decent piece of music, and sounding very well delivered and structured. Good tune, it finishes with an excellent set of beats. Awesome.
Start As You Mean To Go On is next, beginning with more thunderous beats, some unusual textures and some interesting intermixed Acid sounds. This is a really awesome and grand listen, sounding quite unlike anything else out there, even today. A lengthy piece at six minutes long, this does sound really very good. The beats are prominent here, stopping and starting wonderfully here. Really excellent and awesome listening, this sounds energetic, lively and incredible, although it is not exactly mainstream club music. Towards the middle, some ethereal textures enter this piece, making it a different listen. These quickly cut out, just leaving some incredibly intelligent and different beats here for your listening pleasure. A really top and excellent listen, this sounds wonderfully done. The beats, melodies and textures here are excellent, flowing in and out of the mix. Towards the end, the ethereal textures return briefly, before this piece concludes in a very interesting way.
Wet Tip Hen Ax is next, beginning with a basic 4/4 beat and basic melodic textures, followed by Acid sounds to fit the piece. This is very IDM sounding, although it is a more simple sounding piece by Aphex Twin. Gradually this piece has some additional spacey textures added to it, which make it sound discordant. A good piece of music, this sounds very different to a lot of music out there, even for Aphex Twin. Really excellent sounds and mixing is here, this is a very minimal, yet unusual piece of Electronic music. Gradually some Breakbeats enter, which sound different, followed by some more weird sounds. This is somewhat like Techno, in a way, but original and different. A really excellent and forward thinking piece of music. Towards the end, the beats stop leaving the eerie melodies here, before recommencing again. A good piece of craft, with a lone melody in an odd outro. Different. It segues into the next piece of music.
Next here is Mookid which is a more straightforward piece, with some interesting beats and some more ambient sounds and textures to match it. Some rather weird sounds enter in the left channel. It is safe to say that Aphex Twin makes music that is completely different to anything else out there, and of which is highly original. A great effort here, this sounds remarkably interesting and fantastic. It’s not the sort of music that is mainstream, yet fits very nicely here. Brilliant work all the same, this is a great mixture of unusual IDM sounds. Awesome and strange, but very, very good. It finishes off with some good drum loops.
Following is Alberto Balsalm which begins with some weird sounds, before launching into an excellent and more mainstream sounding tracks with some cut up breakbeats. It’s still super weird, but has a more mainstream and classy sound to it. There is no doubt that Aphex Twin has created a great sound and set of textures here throughout this album, and this is a really good example of it. Awesome listening throughout this piece, the beats stop briefly near the middle for the main melody, before they resume. The melodies are very Acid like, but sit in a world of their own here. A piece of music that thrives very well, this is an awesome listen. In the second half, the beats become much more prominent and are by themselves, before the melodies here recommence. An excellent and wonderful piece of sonic music, it flows very nicely. The outro has the main melody here to finish up with, excellent stuff.
Cow Cud Is A Twin begins with a brief vocal interlude, before metallic sounding beats enter and some rather random banging here occurs. Before long, this piece gets kicking with some more cut up breakbeats, weird samples and textures. It is a really cool listen, and just sounds amazing and unique. A very forward thinking listen, this sounds different and pulsating with EDM/IDM energy. Some strange Acid based melodies are in the background, but are welcome here. A really awesome and great piece of sonic tastiness, this is really awesome to hear. It has some stop/start moments here, particularly with the beats, but all the same is wonderfully interesting. Great sounds and textures are abound here, finishing up with a very minimal sound and structure here. Good piece of music, once again. It sounds totally original, like nothing else out there.
Next Heap With is last here, and begins with some rather dark ambient sounds here. This plays for some time by itself, before some classical style violin sounds enter. A very different and odd piece of music, the two main sections change at a drop of a hat. There are no beats or percussion here, just simply a great and grand textural sound. This is emotional and intense, just sounding really great from start to finish. A lively and interesting piece of music that sounds like modern Classical music, and very different to anything else out there. Dark, disturbing and intense, a real winner here. A good way to conclude the album.
If you like EDM, IDM, Glitch, Techno or Acid House music, with a real unusual twist about it, this album makes perfect sense for you to hear. Sure, it’s a pretty weird listen, but that should not deter you from listening to this absolute classic of an album. Aphex Twin was only getting started here, this is an awesomely monumental album. A must hear.
Intelligent and brilliant.
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