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Selected Ambient Works Volume II

From Academic Kids

Template:Album infobox

Selected Ambient Works Volume II (SAW2), released in 1994, is an ambient double album by Richard D. James under his Aphex Twin moniker. It is a follow-up to 1992's Selected Ambient Works 85-92.

Contents

Music

Volume II differs significantly from Aphex Twin's first volume in that the first volume is mostly beat-oriented, with complex instrumental rhythmic patterns and heavy bass frequencies. In contrast to the fast, club-inspired ambient music of its predecessor, Volume II consists of slow, moody songs, performed much like ambient pioneers Brian Eno and John Cage. Many of the tracks feature almost no beats, and have strong synth textures that craft expansive sonic environments.

Richard D. James has stated in interviews that the sounds in this music were inspired by lucid dreams, and that upon awaking, he would attempt to re-create the sounds and record them. Richard has also called the album "like being in a power station on acid", and has claimed that he has natural synaesthesia, which has contributed to this album.

Tracks

Volume II originally consisted of 25 songs, all untitled except for the song "Blue Calx". Every song matches with a specific photograph taken by James himself (except for a solid blue emblem representing the first track of the second CD, "Blue Calx"). The graphics are part of a somewhat encoded tracklisting system that uses circles and pie diagrams to represent each track. The lack of titles for the tracks on this release provided impetus for fans of the album to come up with their own titles. Officially, however, the songs are still referred to by their track numbers. The most widely accepted track names have been used below:

Duration CD /VINYL
01 [cliffs] (07:21) 1-01 / A-1
02 [radiator] (06:27) 1-02 / A-2
03 [rhubarb] (07:37) 1-03 / A-3
04 [hankie] (04:31) 1-04 / A-4 (Warp CD only, not the US edition)
05 [grass] (08:51) 1-05 / B-1
06 [mould] (03:27) 1-06 / B-2
07 [ropes] aka [curtains] (08:42) 1-07 / B-3
08 [blur] (05:02) 1-08 / B-4
09 [weathered stone] (06:45) 1-09 / C-1
10 [tree] (09:48) 1-10 / C-2
11 [domino] (07:09) 1-11 / C-3
12 [white blur 1] (02:37) 1-12 / C-4
13 Blue Calx (07:16) 2-01 / D-1
14 [parallel stripes] (07:55) 2-02 / D-2
15 [shiny metal rods] (05:29) 2-03 / D-3
16 [grey stripe] (04:38) 2-04 / D-4
17 [z twig] (02:01) 2-05 / D-5
18 [windowsill] (07:13) 2-06 / E-1
19 [stone in focus] aka #19 (10:05) - / E-2 (Limited Edition vinyl only)
20 [hexagon] (05:50) 2-07 / E-3
21 [lichen] (04:07) 2-08 / E-4
22 [spots] (07:03) 2-09 / F-1
23 [tassels] (07:24) 2-10 / F-2
24 [white blur 2] (11:21) 2-11 / F-3
25 [matchsticks] (05:36) 2-12 / F-4

Notes

The names for the tracks listed, as aforementioned, are interpretations of the monochromatic (black-and-white or red-and-white) photographs on the center sticker for the vinyl copies and inlay for the double CD release. On the Sire Records (US) editions, various photos were altered, either by showing unblurred photographs or by changing the image altogether. The image representing "[stone in focus]" was removed entirely, leaving behind an empty white box.

There are three different versions of SAW2 available for purchase. The most complete, with all 25 tracks, is the Limited Edition UK vinyl, which is pressed on brown vinyl, and was limited to a press run of 10,000 copies. The second most complete versions are the regular vinyl release and the Warp Records (UK) CD release, which has every track except for "[stone in focus]", due to both discs nearly being maxed out. The third most complete version is the Sire Records (US) CD release, which strangely also omits "[hankie]". The only hard-copy digital form of "[stone in focus]" can be found on the Astralwerks compilation Excursions In Ambience: The Third Dimension. On this compilation, it has been given the name "#19" and appears as track number 10.

Blue Calx originally appeared on a Applied Rhythmic Technology compilation album ("The Philosophy Of Sound And Machine") under the artist name Blue Calx, which was released in cooperation with Rephlex Records.

It is also interesting to note that the front cover for this album features the full Aphex Twin logo that was used on the earlier Xylem Tube EP, albeit in a broken, incomplete form.

The remix EP for the Aphex Twin single On, released the same year as SAW2, features a track titled "On (28 Mix)," which in no way resembles its original mix, and is very similar to the tracks found on this album. Some have suspected that the 28 Mix could actually be seen as an unreleased 28th track for this album.

Remixes

  • SAW2 CD1 TRK7 (aka "[curtains]" aka "[ropes]"), jointly remixed with LFO's Simon from Sidney, remixed by Pram for the Warp 10th anniversary compilation 10+3 Remixes.
  • SAW2 CD1 TRK1 (aka "[cliffs]"), remixed by Four Tet for the Warp 10th anniversary compilation 10+3 Remixes.

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