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Aphex Twin SAW2 Countdown: Track 2 (“Radiator”)

A track per day up through the February 13 release of my 33 1/3 book

SAWII

cover-from-Bloomsbury-siteI 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.

I am enjoying seeing the book pop up in people’s Twitter and Instagram feeds:

I was interviewed by the fine folks at NewbsRadio for their February 12 podcast (newbsradio.com). The first hour or so is about the movie Napoleon Dynamite. My section starts around ten minutes past the hour. It was done on a cellphone, so the sound isn’t so great.

This second track follows the echoed rhythmic fade of the first track (“Cliffs”). The beat here is a little loping, a little off to a side. It’s percussive in a cumulous way, or cumulous in a percussive way, like Caribbean drums played in soft clusters. Close to a minute and a half in, a melody of sorts appears, or appears to appear. There’s a suggestion it may develop, but it’s just another layer of note-like percussion set on repeat. At around two minutes, another element: a fluttering of background pneumatic percussion, the sound of steam escaping from tight vents, of pressure being released.

There’s an alternate version of the track on the the album 26 Mixes for Cash album, about which there is more in the book. It originally appeared as part of the Peel Sessions. It seems to be the same track but with a more trenchantly, unerringly metric beat overlayed/underlayed on/in it.

And here is is reversed:

More on my Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works Volume II book at amazon.com and Bloomsbury.com.

Thanks to boondesign.com for the sequential grid treatment of the album cover.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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