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.
And it’s great to see it showing up in people’s homes:
“Shiny Metal Rods” is another track I explore in some detail in the book (chapter two: “Background Beats”), so I won’t belabor the point here except to say: if there is any track that gives lie to the oft-repeated idea that this album is “beatless,” it is “Shiny Metal Rods.”
The track is little more than beats — hard, driving, slow, steady beats that could be from a bootleg of a Consolidated or Meat Beat Manifesto concert.
And pity the poor listener who nuzzled up to the stereo’s speakers — or maxed out the headphones — during the album’s prior track, “Parallel Stripes,” more on which tomorrow.
And here it is reversed:
Thanks to boondesign.com for the sequential grid treatment of the album cover.