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Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II (33 1/3) Paperback – February 13, 2014
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About the Author
Marc Weidenbaum founded Disquiet.com, which is focused on the intersection of sound, art, and technology, in 1996. A former editor of Tower Records' Pulse! magazine, he's written for Nature, Boing Boing, and the website of The Atlantic. He's commissioned compositions from such musicians as Scanner, Steve Roden, and Stephen Vitiello, and lectures on the role of sound in the media landscape. He lives in San Francisco.
Top Customer Reviews
To his credit, the author bases very little of the book on a phone interview he conducted with Aphex Twin the late '90s. A lazier writer would base the entire book on that conversation, but Weidenbaum is smart enough to know that it's the listener's interpretation of the record, divorced from the aritst's intent, is much more interesting to delve into. SAW2 is therefore treated like the text that ideas spring from, not a concrete piece with a singular interpretation.
Readers should be aware that Richard D. James figures very little in this book; unlike many 33 1/3 books, SAW2 is not a mini biography. Perhaps that's the way the artist, who's alternately obscured and disseminated his identity and working methods, would like it.
If I am disappointed in one thing about Weidenbaum's book, it is that he spends so much time talking about what this album is *not*, at the expense of spending more time talking about what it *is*. I would have liked to read more of a track-by-track breakdown/commentary, but as it is, the author only discusses 7 or 8 of the album's 25 pieces at length. (There is also no discussion of how the music was made, but to be fair, I did not expect that since Richard D. James is famously secretive about his methods.) I still enjoyed the book, however, as a snapshot of a period in the history of electronic music, as well as a welcome prompt to revisit a favorite album with fresh ears.
There were a lot of stories that I previously knew, but never understood the context behind them (such as the pictures corilateing with the track "names"). Mr. Weidenbaum looks at every minute detail of what makes this album truly magnificent and dissects them in a thoughtful way. Initially I was a little concerned that by reading all of the aspects that lead up to it's creation, it would somehow tarnish the magic of this album, however that is not the case with this book (If anything it augmented it!) I highly recommend to any Aphex Twin fan (any anyone who appreciates music for that matter).
This is a 33 1/3 book which is more about the ideas around the music and its reception than about the music itself, and while he does an impressive job offering a variety of perspectives, I think this entry in the series is a bit too dependent on discussing the critical response to the album and the ways its been covered and used by classical arrangers and dance troupes. I wanted to know more about this deeply weird music itself, in so far as you can 'know' anything about music this oblique
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Far too much abstract descriptions of the sounds on the album and too little inside information or insight. Read morePublished 15 months ago by tremspeed
perhaps reflecting the author's nationality, i felt this was a little too american-centric. it focussed too much on the american distributor of saw 2, and how that label dealt with... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Andrew Utting
This text would be great if it was edited down to a 6-8 page magazine article. Weldenbaum doesn't have enough material or insider information to fill a whole book, so he pads and... Read morePublished on June 17, 2014 by nopollution
Certainly not a bad book but there is next to nothing on the background of the album itself. I would love to know what equipment Richard D. Read morePublished on June 8, 2014 by David Wellbaum
An interesting read about this milestone work...I am almost finished and then plan to pick up the new Dilla book in this series.Published on June 2, 2014 by alex schkrutz
More than just a track-by-track descriptive essay, Marc Weidenbaum's recent entry in the 33 1/3 series is collection of thoughtful, interrelated essays that also delve into the... Read morePublished on March 23, 2014 by Larry