I am going to do this track-by-track countdown to the release, on February 13, 2014, the day prior to Valentine’s Day, of my book in the estimable 33 1/3 series. It is a love letter to Aphex Twin’s album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, which will mark its 20th anniversary this year, less than a month after my book’s publication. More on my Aphex Twin book at amazon.com and Bloomsbury.com. The plan is to do this countdown in the reverse order, from last track to first. For reference, an early draft of the introduction is online, as is the book’s seven-chapter table of contents. The book’s publisher posted an interview with me when I was midway through the writing process.
There is some irony to doing this countdown since the book is already shipping to folks who pre-ordered it via an online retailer such as Amazon, but the official date stands, and that’s the target — the end date — of this countdown, February 13. And for what it’s worth, while the physical copies are mailing now from retailers, the Kindle version won’t turn on until February 13. Still, the digital version costs less.
As I’ve noted on Twitter, this track-a-day approach is exactly the opposite of the book’s approach, which is a collection of interrelated, reporting-based essays.
This is a track that a good chunk of the book is spent on. It’s one of the few vocal tracks, though that simple distinction — vocal versus non-vocal — doesn’t do justice to how the vocal is, essentially, a form of percussion. Which is to say, its presence is a kind of double refutation of received wisdom about the album (that is devoid of vocals and beats). The way the vocal resounds, the meandering keyboard part, the loping bass — all of these make “Mould” a standout track on an album where tracks do their best to not stand out.
Just a side note: as is discussed at length in the book, various factors play a role in the murky definition of tracks, from the different number of tracks on different editions, to the absence of titles, to the presence of images, to the widespread employment of words in place of those images. In the case of “Mould,” there is the additional factor of Americans tending to spell it “Mold.”
And here it is reversed:
Thanks to boondesign.com for the sequential grid treatment of the album cover.